Changing Daydreams
Lily, CS19 (Fall 2019), Madison, WI.

There are days that I sit outside and daydream. I used to think about running into the streets of New York City, learning about Broadway and the city culture, and what pizza tastes like in the rows of towering buildings. I wanted to live in a way too expensive studio apartment and work as a journalist by day and a waitress at night to pay the bills and explore the city. But now all I can think about is Alaska.
It all changed one day sitting in Jeff Rennicke’s English class when he first gave out Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. As I stared at a faded teal bus on the cover of the book, I was perplexed by the idea of running away to that dangerous unknown. I couldn’t get through my head why anyone would run away with only a bag of rice and a gas station map to help them through the harsh conditions of an Alaskan winter. It didn’t add up for me; of course, I loved the pictures I’d seen of Alaska, but I would’ve never considered doing something that stupid.

However, the more we learned about Alaska and the tragic tale of Christopher McCandless, the more I started to fall in love with the idea of living in the rawest form of wilderness. I now had started to look into the numerous adventures of multiple Alaskan photographers and explorers, researching edible plants and weather conditions. The thoughts and words of those pioneers flooded my head at least ten times a day; that’s when I knew I had changed into a steward of the land.

The lessons and environment I was placed in to read this book have truly helped me change the way I look at the world. The wilderness reached out its hand to take mine through Lowenwood and through Into the Wild. Before coming to Conserve School, I would have never thought that running into the mountains of Alaska would be a healing moment. Now that I know what I should prepare for, I will take nature’s hand, without any doubt in my mind.

I used to think about running into the streets of New York City. But I guess I’ll never get to try that slice of pizza. Instead, I’ll be harvesting high bush cranberries and making camp somewhere in Alaska.