5 Minute Book Review: Anywhere That is Wild

One of my new goals is to write a five minute summary/review of every book I read. I literally set the timer for 5 minutes and write. All of them probably won’t make it over here, but I’m hoping to share my favorites.

anywhere that is wild book cover

The very first book I did this on was a book I read during our Christmas break. It’s a compilation of some John Muir letters that describe a hiking trip he took out in California in the middle of the 1800s. It was a really short read, but it blew me away. Just lovely. Anyways, here’s my 5 minute review, with just a little housekeeping around the edges!

Anywhere That is Wild is a compilation of some of John Muir’s letters to friends that he wrote while journeying to Yosemite from San Fransisco.  It appears that he walked through California and up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains, sometimes accompanied by an English friend, until he got to Yosemite.  His prose is absolutely beautiful. As I read, I could almost envision the untouched Californian wilderness of 1858. It made me want to go out in nature and just stand there, silently observing the world.  

Muir reportedly requested directions from a passerby as he arrived in San Francisco to “Anywhere that is wild.” After reading this book, I echo his sentiments. Show me to the wilderness, and let me breathe the wild air.
This book is inspiring on several levels. Firstly, and most obviously, Muir’s descriptive power encourages observation.  As we read we are encouraged to notice the world around us with a deeper fervor. Secondly, I think this book makes one ponder and maybe even desire a simpler time or way of life.  Muir talks of losing track of entire days in observation of the trees. It’s humbling to try and remember the last time I lost track of any amount of time outdoors. As we approach the new year and begin to think of everything the year might hold, I am inspired to make room for losing track of time outdoors.

Favorite quote:

“When I walked, more than a hundred flowers touched my feet, at every step closing above them, as if wading in water.  Go where I would, east or west, north or south, I still plashed and rippled in flower-gems; and at night I lay between two skies of silver and gold, spanned by a milky-way of vegetable suns.  But all this beauty of life is fading year by year, fading like the glow of a sunset, foundering in the grossness of modern refinement.”

p. 21, Anywhere That is Wild, Muir