Currently Reading: One Man’s Wilderness

One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey by Sam Keith from the journals and photographs of Richard Proenneke.

In 1968 Proenneke built a log cabin on the Upper Twin Lake in Alaska. This book is a compilation of sixteen months of journal entries where he recorded what was going on in this secluded and pristine piece of wilderness. He included simple records, which he apparently kept for the thirty years he lived there, on weather, snowfall, lake ice thickness; and notes on Caribou herds, bears, wolves, birds and any of the living things around him.

He reflects on living modestly and appreciating the simple things in this world. We have so much in our lives that are only there for our comfort or convenience. What is one person’s comfort is another person’s misery. Freeing himself from modern ‘comforts’ he was able to slow down, observe and listen, to absorb and gain understanding of the natural world.

Reading this book makes you feel a little spoiled and your life look cluttered. As much as a person longs to simplify their life or their needs, it can not compare to Proenneke’s experience. How many of us would have the courage to leave all of your material desires behind, and literally live off the land with very few ‘luxuries’ afforded to you.

Someday, Mark and I want to live in a cabin on a piece of wooded land near a body of water. Our dreams are not nearly so rustic, but we hope to simplify somewhat.