A couple of weeks ago I was going through boxes of books that we had stored away in the basement to separate some to be donated and move the ones we will keep into the attic. I have always been pretty good about getting rid of things I don't need, like clothes, but I have always hung on to my books, carting them across the country as if they were photos or journals. In a way, they do bring back memories of the different phases of my life: Jim Morrison's Biography from my high school days, Che Guevara books from my revolutionary days, etc. But, I feel like I don't need them anymore and I am certainly not going to read them again; I have moved on and my memories sustain me.
During my book sorting, I found a book that I immediately knew I had never read and I wanted to read, now. The author, Rick Bass, was a guest professor at Beloit College my last semester there, the fall of 1994. I remember hearing him speak and being intrigued. He is a "nature writer" for lack of a better description and he is now a wilderness activist. My ex-boyfriend, who thought himself a writer, was obsessed with him and I remember thinking back then that I should read some of his work.
So, I read the book, finishing it this morning. I enjoyed it tremendously and I could relate to the author's struggle to find himself between the city world and the wilderness world. This is something I have actually been thinking about a lot lately as Jupiter and I try to figure out exactly where we should move to eventually. I feel drawn to having a forest around my house, but I am not completely ready to say goodbye to city life.
As I was reading the book, I found the old sales receipt from 1/31/1994. I bought it at Borders in Ann Arbor while I was staying with my folks before I left for Costa Rica a week later. It seems hard to imagine who I was then, 19 years old, before I could really speak Spanish, before I had lived in a poorer country, before I understood a culture other than my own. I guess I had good taste in books. It hardly seems surprising that I didn't read it then, a book about escaping to the Montana wilderness in wintertime as I was packing to live in tropical Central America.
But, right now, it is the perfect book. If I can't play in any actual snow I can at least read about someone else's snow love. The book ended, predictably, with the arrival of spring and it seems apropos since today it is 60 degrees outside and feels like Spring has sprung.
I think I may buy myself a book for another 14 years from now. What would I want to read when I am 47 years old? Yikes!! I'll probably need reading glasses by then.