.: Above The Aether :.

20 Sep, 2007

The Last American Man

Posted by: Dave In: Books |Outdoors |Philosophy

I started reading The Last American Man, by Elizabeth Gilbert, last week. It’s been a while since I purposefully slowed down my reading and forced myself to savor a book because I liked it so much. The book follows Eustace Conway, a man who walked into the woods as a young man and then walked out 20 years later. He lived in a teepee for most of that time and has since started a nature preserve in North Carolina called Turtle Island. He still lives in the woods and has dedicated his life to teaching.

Eustace is living the life that I have secretly dreamed about living for years. To be surrounded by the sights and sounds of the wild is something that appeals to my inner mountain man. I can’t really explain it. Although, the notion of living through harsh winters in the wild with only a teepee to protect me from the elements doesn’t sound like a walk in the park. It’s more romantic in notion than in reality, I’m sure. My rational side – the one that enjoys warm socks out of the dryer, thai lemon chicken and internet movie rentals thinks this idea is truly absurd.

My rational side is probably right, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

When I walk though the Memorial Park here in Houston and smell that musty scent of fallen leaves or see the sun filter down through the canopy of leaves and smog, I say to myself, “you should move to the mountains and live in peace and harmony with nature.” Then some jackass usually drives by in a BMW honking his horn at some other jackass who cut him off in a Mercedes.

At some point in this inner dialog (of which I am playing both parts) I realize the mountains have very poor broadband internet coverage and virtually no access to a decent shrimp spring roll with spicy peanut sauce.

But damn it, the idea still appeals to me.

Anyhow, the book is well-written and inspiring.  If you like interesting character studies and adventure stories, you’ll probably like The Last American Man.


Now playing: Yo La Tengo – The Forest Green
via FoxyTunes

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  • Dave: Not sure, Bryan, but I'd love to know where Craig lives.
  • Bryan Hanks: What city were those in?
  • Kevin David Anderson: check out our other wreaths at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150452725264516.391111.360128594515&type=3
  • epiphenita: Like Tom Waits without the music.
  • epiphenita: Reminds me of my good friend's artwork: http://victoriacarlson.blogspot.com/2009/06/untitled.html
  • Dave: I think someone should make some dance music from those "WHOAHs."
  • epiphenita: Oh, Dave. That was tonic to my soul. Perfect. I vote for an exorcism.
  • Dave: Hmm, looks sober to me.
  • Scott: I'm thinking that the guy with the hat might have had a drink or two before this picture was taken. Just a hunch...
  • Scott: There's a roleplaying scenario just waiting to be written based on these pictures. :-)


Stepping over the steaming pile of reality. This is one man's journey into the absurd.

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