This summer I’ve pondered on the magic of timing. It came to me in the manner of a book. Whilst spending time in the high desert of New Mexico, I was fortunate that although indoor plumbing and air conditioning were lacking, books certainly were not. Hundreds of books lined the walls of the common living area and as if that weren’t enough, there was also a library that held at least just as many. You couldn’t visit the farm without seeing piles of books; it was one of my favorite aspects of the place.
On my second day there, I came across a book called Wild by Nature by Sarah Marquis. I took a look at it but decided I wanted to read a classic book instead, something I should have read but haven’t yet. That’s when I landed on I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I immediately sat down to read it. I managed to read the first five chapters over a couple days and then, suddenly, it disappeared. There are not many places this book could have gone. The property was big of course, but I had been reading in the main room, in a chair, and put the book down to eat lunch. When I went back to get it, it had just vanished. Although I looked everywhere and others helped, we never found it again. So I gave up and reached for my initial intrigue, Wild by Nature.
It didn’t take long to be totally engrossed in this book. Marquis is a champion and this is her memoir about how she walked through six countries over the course of three years. And she did this alone. She had a team on call in case of emergencies, but those were few and far between. I was completely in awe of her strength and wit and how she handled herself in potentially life-threatening situations (with animals and with humans). She also took this on at the age of 40, which was really inspiring to read as a 28-year-old adventurous soul myself. Reading about independent, unapologetic women will always speak volumes to me, especially women who are expected by society to already have a husband and children, and who brush those norms off because it’s no one’s business.
So, this is the magic of timing. I will always remember this summer as a summer of uncertainties and big leaps. Marquis’ story helped encourage me to make a big leap that I had been considering for over a month prior- to move away from Colorado after only having just moved there in the spring in order to spend a year in Australia. Australia was, coincidentally, Marquis’ final destination and she wrote about the country so beautifully that I just knew it would be a good decision to go. If there is such thing as fate, this was fate in action. I’m certain that I will read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings again, but it was simply not my time.
Also on a final note, due to this book, I decided to go on a four hour walk in the desert (alone, but that was only because there was no one to go with me) and as a result I now know what it’s like to be threatened by a rattlesnake. Running back to the farm in terror (which was still an hour and a half walk away) I remember yelling, “I am not Sarah Marquis! I am NOT Sarah Marquis!”