Self-Isolation Reading List

Mountain Annual Editor, Leslie Anthony

Think about it

One thing that has always fascinated me is hearing someone say they’re bored. I’ve never been bored an hour in my life, so I have no idea what it’s like. This was a godsend for my mother, who didn’t have to wear herself out trying to keep me occupied. I always felt there was something to do, something to look at, something to ponder, something to read, something to understand. I loved school, and even when confronted with subjects I wasn’t too interested in, found a way to pass the time productively (at least from my perspective—and even if the teacher wasn’t amused).

Of course, there were options in those halcyon days of youth—and even as recently as a few weeks ago—to stay inside or go out, to travel the neighbourhood or perhaps explore a little further, to go to the library or a museum or a park. None of that exists at the moment, and it’s possible it won’t for a while. But not having options shouldn’t lead to boredom. As many people are finding, it’s actually an invitation to more creativity, a shift in engagement, introspection, a chance to dig deep on a few things that maybe we haven’t spent enough time cogitating on.

Some of these have to do with those very options we so long took for granted. Such as: What’s really important in life? What can we do without? What is wilderness and our relationship to it? Why have we ignored the climate issue? How can I be part of the solution instead of the problem? Why have we stopped talking about overpopulation? Why is biodiversity important? How far can the environment be pushed and ecosystems degraded before we reach a tipping point? Is the earth already teaching us one of these lessons?

Interestingly, though each of these is illuminated in the stark light of today’s pandemic crisis, they are the same questions that have occupied Mountain Life Annual since its inception—in fact, the very reason for its existence.

We’re all together on a very big learning curve at the moment, trying to cope with a new reality that will be with us for a while. And since we’ve got some time on our hands, rather than finding ourselves at loose ends, maybe let’s dedicate ourselves to something—stimulating our sense of wonder at home. It’s one thing to read a thought-provoking piece, but it’s quite another to find time to follow up on those thoughts. And if that’s the opportunity before us, where better to get started than some of the essays on those very topics from Annuals past? Dig in, enjoy, ask questions, and hopefully we’ll all emerge with some new perspectives.