Reading Ain’t My Bag Baby
If you’ve read my post about reading not being naturally easy for me, it might surprise you to learn that I once read a book by accident. A huge book. I did. Here is the story.
I’ve not read a lot of books in my life. At the time this story took place I had MAYBE read 5 books from cover to cover. As mentioned in the blog above, reading can be hard. My mind wanders to all sorts of things and before I know it I’ve gone through many pages without understanding a thing. I tend to have a renewed excitement every 6 months or so, start a book, get a third the way through, get distracted, and never pick it up again. It would be nice if they would put all the important stuff in the first third.
The Book That Wasn’t The Book
Several years ago I was meeting fairly regularly with a mentor named Dave for breakfast. There was always a welcomed suggestion of a podcast, article, scripture, or advice about a business matter. This particular day he decided to suggest a book called Of Men and Mountains. I’d spent years collecting and organizing book suggestions people made and had in that last year moved to a more aggressive approach. When someone would recommend a book I would simply order it right then. (Then it would go into a GIANT stack that I never read). So, I ordered the book.
The book sat in the pile for months until I was preparing to go on a 2 week beach vacation where I planned to do absolutely nothing (which for me, looking back, was a significant sign of burnout). I grabbed the book and thought it would be nice if I could actually start AND finish it. Once on vacation I got started pretty quickly and before long I thought it would be possible, with herculean effort, to finish this book. It was encouraging, exciting, and I felt proud at the potential of being able to tell Dave I read the book he recommended the next time I saw him.
“Of Men and Mountains” is a memoir written by William O. Douglas about his experiences exploring the American wilderness, specifically the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The book is a collection of essays, each focusing on a different aspect of Douglas’s love for nature and the challenges of mountaineering. Douglas describes his adventures climbing mountains, traversing glaciers, and exploring the wilds of the American wilderness. He writes about the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world, as well as the dangers and risks involved in exploring it.
Throughout the book, Douglas also expresses his deep concern for the environment and the need to preserve the wilderness for future generations. He argues that the natural world is essential to human well-being and spiritual fulfillment, and that it is our duty to protect it. “Of Men and Mountains” is a passionate and poetic tribute to the American wilderness, and a call to action for conservation and environmental protection.
Getting Sucked In.
As I read page after page I was eager to discover the words or message that Dave had in mind for me. I assumed it was concerning faith, but as I came to find out, faith wasn’t mentioned at all until the final pages, and scarcely so then. Then I thought maybe there was some business challenge he faced later in life that would be mentioned, but no. Kids? No. Marriage? No. What the heck!
Nevertheless, I was sucked into the stories and into the picture of FREEDOM that was painted through his words and youthful adventures. I found myself wanting for the adventure he experienced even though I am far from an outdoorsman. It was the emotions I experienced that were so inviting – I wanted more. What a simple life. To climb and camp and fish and be warm and be cold and be at peace. To be one with not just nature, but with yourself. Beyond the fear of not having electronics it’s a magnetic experience, no, fantasy. Such a simple and beautiful experience.
I closed the book. I literally laid there on the couch smiling and settling in myself as if I’d eaten a huge Sunday meal. The satisfaction of having read a book, a great big book, was great – but there was a euphoria that that came from having just experienced such a thing. I was with him after all, taking it all in right beside him. Wow.
I couldn’t wait to see Dave again. I was less concerned with him explaining his reason for suggesting the book and more excited to tell him about my experience.
The Jaw Drop
When we met a few weeks later I said “wow, what a book!”. “Which book?” he said. I said “Of Men and Mountains”. He said … “Of Men and Mountains?”. “Yea”, I said. You suggested I read it. He paused and then said … “MOVER of Men and Mountains. Yea that’s the book”
WHAT? He told me the wrong book! I READ the wrong book!! Do you realize how hard that was? haha. In a strange way though, I am glad for the mistake. I really enjoyed the experience and I think about it often.
Then I ordered the correct book. In 2013. It’s still in the pile.