I am riding on the wings of words as I prepare for my pilgrimage to Jack London’s home, a national state park in Glen Ellen, California. My preparation for this pilgrimage surprised me, immersed me into worlds, deeper and wider than my comprehension. As I read his works, the most recent, “Love of Life,” a survival of the fittest story about two soldiers traveling together, until one becomes injured and left to die, I am transported into the thick of London’s story, waiting and watching this man, fight for his very life while living in the awes of nature.
As I read each of his sentences slowly, intently, I dive down, rise up, roll with the rich rithym of London’s language–relish in his stark writings on the power of will, on unconfined individualism, on Darwanism in its exploration of the laws of nature, they make me think of my own humble place in nature.
With each word, I become fascinated with London’s own fascination with nature’s superiority in relation to man. I immediately think of the tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and devastations raking havoc on our world right now. London’s stories of nature’s hold on man could not have greater relevance and meaning for humanity today.
London also had a deep love and appreciation for nature’s soothing and inspiring ways; just his being in nature, being one with nature, provided him the ability to write from the point of view of a wolf, of wild animals seen and heard in Call of the Wild and White Fang.
His love for nature gave him the purpose of purchasing and dwelling on 39 acres of fertile land, deep canyons, and high hills. His enthusiasm for his farm, ranch, vineyard was unquenchable: He eloquently wrote: “The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame. Across Sonoma Mountain wisps of sea fog are stealing. The afternoon sun smoulders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive. I am filled with dreams and mysteries. I am all sun and air and sparkle. I am vitalized, organic.”— Jack London
Jack London’s intense energy that rioted in his work, inspires me to fuel my own writings with vigor and verve. His literary success, the most prolific writer of the 20th century, stimulated him, and so moves me to greater and wider efforts. We share a working-life philosophy.
For my visit to Jack London’s sanctuary this coming week, I pack a Picasso designed, hard-bound notebook into my backpack, (a gift given to me by a good friend insisting that I write); a blue barrel Bic pen, Yerba mate to drink (an Argentine tea) a sacked lunch, and London’s, Love of Life to read once more.
I will observe, write, and ride on wings of words, his mixed in with mine, taking us to places, far, far away from ourselves.