I read this book two years ago... and I'm just now getting around to posting the review I wrote then, here. I hope it inspires you to read this extraordinary book!
I hiked the White Mountains ... well, sort of...I never physically left the comfort of my warm house in Michigan, but every day I walked miles up and down the forty-eight peaks of the white mountains with the best of companions, Tom Ryan and his wonderful dog Atticus M. Finch.
Every day, I put in at least an hour on the treadmill, it's part of my "good eats & exercise program". But, because I don't tolerate the colder conditions of winter well, the treadmill is the only way I can get that much needed cardio workout. And I don't have to tell you, it sure can be dull. The endless walking, the staring off into space, or worse, staring at the clock. I've tried watching TV and movies when I walk, but it just didn't seem to be the kind of distraction or entertainment I needed. My treadmill is an older one and it makes a lot of noise. The TV is really too far away to hear properly, and my headphone cord doesn't reach. Films on DVD are okay once in a while; but its difficult to turn them off half-way through, and two hours walking at 2.6mph is something I'm just not up to, yet. So I read.
Reading is a wonderful pastime while walking. It provides just enough entertainment to distract me from the drudgery of putting one continuous foot in front of the other, yet getting nowhere; and besides, I love to read - its the perfect escape and a great way to diminish the stress of my day. But with my busy schedule, and trying to fit in time to write regularly, reading has frequently been put off to the side. But not any more!
Since January, when I began my re-dedication to exercise, I get to read twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening, for half an hour or more each time. I have a Sony ebook reader, and it sits on a small easel that I found (a plate display, actually) atop my treadmill. And now, I LOOK FORWARD to walking everyday because it means I get to READ! Reading is the instant reward for walking! Its easy to put off walking, its not so easy to ignore a captivating story that is difficult to put down.
So, I've linked the two. Unless I'm on a long car trip, the rule is: No Reading Without Walking.
I remember as a child, I was constantly reading. While waiting for the school bus, while on the school bus, and while walking in the halls between classes. Walking and reading have always been a good match for me. Its been an easy rule to implement. (I know some people get motion sickness while doing this, but I, thankfully, never have.)
My wonderful journey up and down the White Mountains came to me through the fabulous book, "Following Atticus". Its an inspiring story of a man, Tom Ryan, and his discovery of the love, devotion and friendship found in the heart of a little dog. Together, they hike the forty-eight peaks, THREE TIMES, in WINTER! Something I could never do myself, but found great delight in sharing with them vicariously through the pages of this book.
It's a story filled with compassion, devotion, humor, excitement, political story-stepping, and peace. Wonderful, blissful, peace as seen through the eyes and heart of a little dog who has unending courage and a man who allows him to simply be who he is.
I loved this book because not only did it give me a very clear experience of enjoying the mountains in winter - and they ARE fabulously beautiful - it also renewed my faith in humanity and the ability of people to still see the value of things that you can't plug in and don't make you money.
Each morning and evening as I walked on my treadmill, I felt as if I was walking along side them on their journey to discover Mother Nature at her soul foundation, and enjoy the captivating views, rejuvenating aromas, and indelible friendships.
A visit to the website, blog and Facebook page for this duo has added greater dimension as I discovered photos of the two, simply peaceful souls as they shared their mountain journey with me. Each day that I walked and read more about their lives together, it made it more difficult to stop and go to work or sleep. I lost track of myself and the agony of exercise as I relished in their story.
For anyone who loves a great tale of external challenge, internal journey, and dogs simply being dogs - this is a book I highly recommend. It has inspired me to be more present in my day-to-day, more aware of my dogs as dogs, rather than the people I often times expect them to be, and it has reminded me that being in nature is by far my favorite battery recharger.
I found myself ditching the drudgery of walking, and instead, found myself walking to experience the story before me, and with a new goal to walk the White Mountains one day, myself ... but not in winter!
Diana Kathryn Plopa
I love being in love; writing; reading; mammals of nearly every kind, and especially micro-humans! Come enjoy my world with me - Secret Decoder Ring not required!!