As an eleven year old in New England, I read Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker and dreamed of wandering the wide open spaces of the west as he did. I set off on excursions into rainy and dense local woods that are littered about Massachusetts's small cities and small towns. Wide open, big sky spaces were few. Off-trail travel involved bushwhacking, swamps, and poison ivy. You'd get to the top of a peak (well, really a glorified hill but we're talking imagination here) and... you'd still be in a forest. These places are wild in their own ways and do have their share of wonder and charm. But I wanted to go big and I would eventually find my way to the west years later. But even within the claustrophobic confines of these eastern forests, I still to happened upon small sanctuaries of inspiration, quiet, and solitude.
Around the same time, I began my life a distance runner, inspired to run marathons. My runs took me far and wide on the backroads where I lived. I sought out the wildest places possible. And, during the process of that training, I discovered the power of the journey. It's no accident that I was reading Homer's Odyssey at this time; I couldn't avoid its influence. Completing a marathon was a joyful achievement for me. And the actual journey of running the marathon was also joyful. Yet, most significantly, the months of training that lead up to the journey delivered the most joy and reward of all. All those hours on the road in those woods, each mile with a myriad of moments—from here is where the greatest pleasure arose.
Inspired by The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth, author Chris Burkhard/illustrator David McClellan, Dreamling Books.