Sunday, March 06, 2005

Alone in the Wilderness

The gang here at the lake just finished watching Dick Proenneke's 1968 travels to wilderness Alsaka in Alone in the Wilderness. What a wonderfully exciting experience. Traveling to a beautiful place, one isolated from people, and living alone for decades; what a challenge. He builds his cabin using materials found at the site. He makes handles for those tools he did bring in. He is visited by a friend who flys in supplies. But mainly he is alone in the midst of a giant stretch of nature.

Is this not a dream for many just crushed by the stress and push of postmodernity? Of course it is. Yet who gets to actually try? Dick Proenneke does. You get to view the first year of decades he is to spend alone. Of course the only once spoken danger is that health care is not available. No phone to calll and no one to actually call. He does note during one climb that if he fell he would be making peace with his maker, but otherwise injury is a silent element. Such a dream, yet healthcare makes it impossible for most of us who would like to get away. This is particularly true of those of us in those 50s and beyond. But then again, the lifestyle looks so healthy that would there be a need for non-accident health care? If we each shoveled a mile of path per day without a snowblower, would health care not be a part of our lives?

I have seen the show twice and have just been glued from start to finish. I was attracted by the fiftyish
travelogue look, but stayed for the inspiration.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

I caught Alone in the Wilderness recently too. I thought it was just amazing. I was sucked in by the simplicity of the narration and Proenneke's remarkable ability to make anything with her hands and few simple tools. What an incredible guy.