“Solitude in the Outback…”
Living in the Outback, I often found myself alone for weeks at a time at the homestead while the men were in the field catching feral cattle. That solitude gave me time to read the Russian novels by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Puskin, and Pasternak to name a few. Dr. Zhivago and The Brothers Karamazov remain favorites to this day.
In my Australian days, I’d visualize the great books I read as a lighthouse that would light up the path of my life. A silly image, perhaps, but when one is completely alone, the mind creates interesting imagery.
Even after the Outback became only a memory, I rarely read novels hitting the New York Times bestseller list until the original hoopla surrounding their launch had quieted down. The hectic schedule of my international corporate career left little time to indulge in big books. I’d discovered less lofty but more enjoyable reading – the mystery genre – my pleasure reading for long flights from New York to South America, Asia, or Europe.
Fast forward to 2021 when I’ve become a writer myself. My love of mystery intrigues me so much, that it’s what I write. Revisiting the idea of best sellers, I still wait until the hoopla quiets to a whisper. Recently, I must have heard crawdads heralding Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing as being a mystery wrapped in a coming of age story woven with romance.
So I purchased it.
What a delicious dip into the wondrous world of nature in the swamps of North Carolina as seen, felt, and described through Kya’s life.
Delia Owens said in an interview that Kya represents what we can be when we have to be. I concur with the author that all of us have the ability to do more than we can imagine when life requires it.
Delia Owens described how her life of studying lions and elephants in Africa brought extreme or partial isolation for twenty-three years of her life.
My own isolation in the Outback, for a mere three-and-a-half years, changed me in many ways. I became, like Kya, more self-reliant, more introspective, and a problem solver. When I re-emerged into life in Mexico after the Australian experience, I was socially insecure. I thought it’d take several years for me to feel like the extroverted girl who’d left the comfort and love of her family to form a family of her own on the other side of the world. Then I realized the young girl had been transformed into a woman capable of following her own lighthouse to accomplish her dreams.