“There is a valley in New York. And a river runs through it. And Henry Hudson first discovered it.” So starts a show, recorded a show from PBS that broadcast on KET over the weekend called New York Wine & Table. I admit to recording the oddest thing that catches my interest on occasion, but the description of “specialty growers revitalize farming and wine making in the Hudson River Valley, with blackcurrant wine, apple vodka, and apple cider” appealed to me on some level. I suppose the combination of farming and wine making were the two things that really caught my attention, as I am passionate about both of those. Of course I also thought my trip to upstate New York several years ago was beautiful and I was a little curious about apple vodka as well. I find myself fairly awake this evening and after watching a documentary of Chris McCandless I was feeling more alive then usual and thought I would watch that video while I wrote a blog about something else.
Note: I started writing this one about four weeks ago and finished it just lately.
A little more than a week ago, while over at a friend’s house, he popped in a new to DVD movie titled Into the Wild. It tells the story of Christopher McCandless, during the few short years between when he graduates college and his death a few short years later. During those few short years though McCandless lives a full life that few of us today are brave enough or otherwise willing to pursue, ultimately ending up in the Alaskan wild. A short synopsis is in order to begin.
We see McCandless at an abandoned bus in the Alaska wild that is called the magic bus. The rest of the movie flashes back from the time he graduates Emory college up through the time he is at the bus. Apparently he had issues with his materialistic motivated parents who apparently didn’t get along so well either. After college instead of heading to Harvard as was discussed, he instead cashes out his college fund, donates its, cuts up credit cards, and takes off across country. Enjoying his freedom he travels from one place to another doing simple jobs that include working at burger place, a long time with a grain farm/co-op, helping some hippies selling books, and leather work with an old man. He also enjoys during his travels lots of nature including kayaking down the Grand Canyon, ending up in Mexico, and the oceans and beeches of the coast. During all of this, he has one focus, which is to go to the last great frontier of Alaska and live completely on his own as self-sufficiently as possible. I will not spoil the movie any further – as I think it is well worth watching if you haven’t seen it.
The thing that attracted me to this movie is the sense of free spirit or just plain old freedom that comes from this. It is the kind of thing that I am often tempted to think about doing myself. I can see myself in my tempted thoughts riding off with two or three horses, a pack of stuff on one them, a dog in tow just because she would let me leave without her, and heading out to Montana or Wyoming across country… Tempted to think about – but then I have to admit in the end I am to attached to things to just up and let go of everything and move about surviving on occasion on little more than pure darned luck.
Bottom line is this – my hats off to McCandless for actually having had the gumption to have actually lived life to the fullest.