“It’s comforting to know Chris was here,” Billie explains, “to know for certain that he spent time beside this river, that he stood on this patch of ground. So many places we’ve visited in the past three years—we’d wonder if possibly Chris had been there. It was a terrible not knowing—not knowing anything at all.

Many people have told me that they admire Chris for what he was trying to do. If he’d lived, I would agree with them. But he didn’t, and there’s no way to bring him back. You can’t fix it. Most things you can fix, but not that. I don’t know that you ever get over this kind of loss. The fact that Chris is gone is a sharp hurt I feel every single day. It’s really hard. Some days are better than others, but it’s going to be hard every day for the rest of my life.” –Billie McCandless, from Into the Wild


I’m really hoping that going to South Korea will bring some sense of comfort, although right now, thinking about constantly wondering have my parents been here? seems like a dizzying nightmare.

I feel for Billie, and for everyone who ever feels this way.
It’s terrible not knowing anything at all.

And yet, in my life, I’m doing the exact same thing to people.
I’ve often wondered how people can be so cruel to one another, but sadly, I get it.
Sometimes our ideals are bigger than we are.

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One thought on “

  1. chris was stupid and naive; no doubt partly a function of his youth, but also no doubt a function of his contempt for the materialism of the society he wished to separate himself from. he allowed his “ideals” to blind him to the necessities of life and became arrogant in his belief that he was better and bigger than the limitations of his body, limitations whose mitigation he conflated with materialism (evident in his rejection of tools and equipment he needed to survive). obviously he was not. ideals are good to have, but if you do not ground them in intellect, wisdom, and pragmatism then all they amount to is foolishness. he sought to “find himself” in the wilderness, failing to see that the wilderness he needed to look for himself in was not in alaska.

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