It’s been a year now, and my time in some ways is up. Last June I was given a challenge to explore the wild, where “scary people” often drink and smoke and cuss without so much as a second thought. There, in the wild, parents enroll their kids in parks and rec sports without ever considering the option of Upwards. In the wild, instead of asking for “day sponsors” radio stations air commercials. It’s a delicate ecosystem that simultaneously celebrates diversity and drowns out divergent opinions. I crept softly so as not to spook the inhabitants and consequently be tamped down myself. Research was my disguise and discovery my agenda though I was always forthright about who I am…who I am professionally at least.
It was time to write another installment, but I’d his something of a rut in my research. There’s a public elementary school across the street from the church where during certain seasons of the year I and several others spend our Tuesday afternoons running an after-school Bible club. Desperate for new material but only willing to invest minimal effort, someone suggested I pick out a 5th grade boy and ask him my questions. So I did. One of my favorite little urchins wears Jordans, never sits down, and never stops talking, so I told him to sit down and be quiet. I had some questions I wanted to ask.
Published by Jon Krakauer in 1996 Into the Wild is the biographical account of a young man from Fairfax County, VA who hitchhiked to interior Alaska. Brashly assuming the moniker Alexander Supertramp he strode into the bush with little more than a sleeping bag, a few books, and a bag of rice, anxious to shed the trappings of capitalism and modern society. Predictably Christopher McCandless, his given name signed to a final and desperate plea for rescue, was found starved to death several months later. Many consider his exploits foolish, but to some Chris McCandless is a hero of sorts. Either way his is an intriguing story to which I can relate.