Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Wilderness Society

The Wilderness Society recently requested their facebook followers to share a great kid’s wilderness book. Which got me thinking about what book inspired me to get out into the wilderness. I really had to think. I had read so many great books, but I really wanted to share the one that inspired me the most.

The first book that came to my mind was C.S. Lewis’s Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Narnia might not be a real wilderness, but it was real to me. I climbed through the wardrobe with Lucy. I felt the fur coats turn into pine trees. I saw the bright green grass fighting its way through the snow. From then on, every forest seemed like Narnia and drove my desire to go deeper into the forest to find beaver dams where perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Beaver lived or possibly catch a glimpse of the White Witch riding by in a sleigh. Although, CS Lewis’s adventures in Narnia were incredible it wasn’t my favorite. I kept thinking…what was my favorite book that had me running outside… And then it came to me.

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett first published in 1911 – my all time favorite book that truly sent me exploring.

The secret garden Mary finds is a fenced wilderness in her own backyard, but she also meets a boy named Dickon who is as pure as the greatest wilderness:
‘Would you make friends with me?’ Mary said to the robin, just as if she were speaking to a person. ‘Would you?’…[she] spoke in a tone so soft and eager and coaxing that Ben Weatherstaff was as surprised as she had been when she heard him whistle. 
‘Why,’ he cried out… ‘Tha’ said it almost like Dickon talks to his wild things on th’ moor.’ 
‘Do you know Dickon?’ Mary asked, turning around rather in a hurry. 
‘Everybody knows him. Dickon’s wanderin’ about everywhere. Th’ very blackberries an’ heather-bells knows him. I warrant th’ foxes shows him where their cubs lies an’ th’ skylarks doesn’t hide their nests from him.”
For me it was Burnett’s12-year-old Dickon that inspired me to run outside and try to talk to a bird or plunge into a deep lake with my eyes wide open so I could blow bubbles with a fish. As I got older it was still 12-year-old Dickon that inspired me to kayak the Grand Canyon and explore the woods of Grand Teton National Park. And today, it is still 12-year-old Dickon that has shown my heart that we can see the spirit of a tree, hear a river breathe, and fall in love with the soul of a mountain. Dickon only exist on paper, but his spirit – the wilderness he represents – inspired me to cherish each moment I get in the wild and to forever fight to protect it.

Thank you Wilderness Society for making me think of what book inspired me to get outside the most. It was a fun trip down memory lane. You should try it! And if you have the time, please share with me here or on facebook what book inspired you to play outside cause I want to read it!

To view Sarah's middle grade fiction book click here: Paperback and Kindle 

No comments: