Saturday, July 05, 2008
I recently stumbled across mention of one of my all-time favorite childhood books: My Side of the Mountain. I was captivated, literally, by 12-year-old Sam Gribley's year-long escape as a pre-teen to the Catskill Mountains. I devoured his descriptions of his hollowed-out tree home, picking berries, eating nuts and getting up close and personal with wildlife. My neighborhood friends, Vickie and Sharon, my sister, Cordelia, and I built (with help from older brother, Jon) what we called a fort in a canyon just behind our house. I loved the idea of living off the land. I must have been about 12 when I first read it. Every child daydreams about spending time on his or her own, and this was my dream, traveling to the mountains through Sam's mountain escape. I read the novel over and over when I should have instead been doing homework. I now have my own cabin in the mountains -- not the New York state Catskills, but in the Cuyamaca Mountains in southern California -- and will be living there eventually. It won't be quite like Sam's huge hollowed-out tree, but I do plan to be as green as I can -- including going off the grid and using solar energy. There are lots of oak trees, wonderful boulders and tons of birds on my property on my own side of a mountain. Now that I've been reminded of my escape into the pages of author Jean Craighead George's novel, I plan to re-read it. Just need to find a break between writing so I can read! EPILOGUE: Coudal Partners recently published my review of My Side of the Mountain. Also, childhood friend Vickie Pynchon reminded me in the summer that she was probably the one who loaned me a copy when we were kids. She was always ahead of the curve when it came to reading (still is).