Thursday, September 3, 2009

Into The Wild

We watched this movie last weekend. It's a true story, screenplay adapted from a book written about a young, intelligent, accomplished idealist, fresh out of college, who went to find himself in the Alaska wilderness and died there.

I read the book a few years ago, I frankly can't remember when. I do remember enjoying it. Maybe enjoying isn't the right word. It's such a tragic story when looked at in it's entirety, but somehow inspiring in areas.

The movie, directed by Sean Penn, was really well done. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam sings the sound track, and it's just as haunting as the story.

I'm trying to figure out why it is sticking so deep with me. It may be that I'm listening to the soundtrack, bringing back scenes and emotions from the movie. It may also be that the story includes the agony of the protagonists' parents as they lose him first to his wanderings, and then his death. Obviously the circumstances differ from my own, but the similarities remain.

Or it may be that I'm not too old to remember being that idealist, that age and station in life where I, wearing my insecurities like a suit of armor, was so damn sure of myself that I can understand why Chris did what he did. Didn't we all feel that way? Didn't we all do stupid things, sure that we were right in doing them?

I worry about my girls. Chris didn't mean to die, he was just stretching his wings. But I guess this something that we all go through, part of becoming an adult.


radioactive girl said...

Like you, I remember being at the age where I knew what I was doing even when I didn't. I remember what that felt like. And now somehow I seem to question every decision I ever make. How is that possible that I used to know so much and now I am so unsure? I guess sometimes learning and experiencing more actually makes you less sure because you realize how much is out there that you don't know.

Dr. Smak said...

RG - Sometimes I think that those of us who live long enough realize that the decisions don't really matter that much after all...

FrankandMary said...

I've not seen the movie, but I read the book years ago, & one thing stayed with me. He wrote (paraphrasing)that circumstance has no value. It is all how one relates to a situation that has the value. It is all about personal relationship to phenomenon = meaning.

True in many ways, but not so true when you are slowly dying in the wilderness in an old van.~Mary

kcd said...

dr smak,

though i don't know you, the intuitive thought i had as to why this movie resonates with you is ...could it be that after your beautiful son's death, you find yourself very much in the wilderness, uncharted territory? way further out than you'd planned?

i'm finding that in my life and it's really hard. i wish you the best and i think of you and your family often.

love, kcd in CA

A Doc 2 Be said...


Anonymous said...

I have to say, reading KCD's comment completely gave me chills. What insight.
I never truly know what to say when I read your blog entries; mostly I just hurt and then I hug my children so much longer and harder. Our time here is never guaranteed and that fact scares me more and more now that I am a parent.

I too think of you and your family often and thank you for sharing your feelings. It certainly puts things in perspective for me.

LA in NC

Magpie said...

You really do become different people as you age, don't you? I can remember being young and thinking the things that young people think, but I can't remember why I thought that.

I can remember stupid things I did, little crimes and big, and can't feel guilty, becuase that really wasn't me, as I am now. That was someone else. A prototype me. I'm just now trying to work out the border - what's the oldest sin I feel personally guilty for?

Eleven years ago, it was. So I guess that makes me about eleven years old, doesn't it? I wonder if I'll get older, or if that part of my life will be cut adrift too.

...tom... said...


I worry about my girls. Chris didn't mean to die, he was just stretching his wings. But I guess this something that we all go through, part of becoming an adult.

Hmmmm. (Or perhaps a long, wet, noisy 'pffftttttt' would be in order ...:minism:...)

As rg suggests, we all have made decisions that we now know were based on hooey and bravado. Perhaps we survived only by God's mercy ...or simple luck.

Christopher McCandless had neither God nor luck on his side ...let alone being realistically trained and prepared for the challenges he faced.

I doubt your daughters will be so ill-equipped for the future they will face. I am sure their 'wings' ( made ready for 'flight' by you and dad and others ) will carry them far in life.


A Doc 2 Be said...

How are you, Dr. Smak?

Your posts are coming a little slower which tells me the healing is getting a little easier, if that is the word.

I think about you and your family, and little Henry...

From the blogsphere of those who came to care about your little man, and your family, /hugs.

Anonymous said...