One of my favorite books of all time is Driftwood Valley, written by Theodora Stanwell-Fletcher. Chapters from the author’s diary beautifully chronicle her tales of the vast solitude of northern British Columbia; much of which was inaccessible and not yet penetrated by mankind. Published in 1946 by Little, Brown, and Company, the book spans the years of 1937 – 1941, when the author and her husband lived primarily alone in the wilderness.
Theodora wrote detailed and accurate observations on the life in that region, collecting flora and fauna for the British Columbia Museum, as well as narrating their occasional and memorable interactions with native peoples. Living in that extensive uninhabited land for as long as they did and with as few interactions with modernized society, humbled and changed them forever.
I received an original copy of the book for my nineteenth birthday and read it at least a dozen times, secretly hoping I too could do something like that. It didn’t happen of course and the world has changed dramatically since the 1930s, but I still read a passage or two every now and again – a simple refuge whenever the world feels a bit too crazy. The book, aged and yellowed now, sits on my living room shelf.
Still nestled between two pages, is the original gift bookmark I received on my birthday; a drawing of cherry blossoms on one side, and on the back, a quote from Lao Tze:
“Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if he once has heard stone growing in a cliff”
How did you find solace this week?
© 2021. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved