Do you believe that some books choose you?
I bought Zen on the Trail by Christopher Ives two years ago in Austin, Texas. I was there for a weekend yoga training with Ashtanga teacher David Swenson. It was one of those perfect weekends — I was exploring a new place, unconnected from my day-to-day life, meeting new people, and practicing mindfulness and awareness through yoga.
At lunch one day I popped into a nearby store, Whole Earth Provision Co. I browsed through the books and Zen on the Trail spoke to me. It seemed like the perfect book to read after I returned from my yoga retreat.
I started it when I got home, but then put it away. Life became busy. Other books clamored for my attention. I put it on the shelf with my other yoga/mindfulness books, where it looked pretty, but I made very little headway.
Fast forward two years, to this summer. I spent a few weekends near Duluth, staying in a rustic camper in the woods with electricity but nothing else. I was looking on my shelves for a book that seemed appropriate to read while in the quiet woods. Aha! Maybe I could finally get back to Zen on the Trail.
I couldn’t have picked a more perfect book to read while immersed in nature. It’s like that is what this book was waiting for me to do. For some reason, I just was not connecting with it while reading it at home, cooped up in my sealed-up house. But reading it outside in the fresh air, or in the camper while looking out at the trees, was the perfect setting. I’d read a chapter or two each time I was there.
Two years after I started the book, I finished it. I underlined so many passages; I will be returning to this book again and again. If I had read it any other time, it wouldn’t have had the same meaning.
Have you had a similar experience with books?