Could You be a Hermit?

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Have you ever thought about just getting away from it all, whatever “it” is? (A cubicle job, McNews, social media, traffic.) A 20 year old named Christopher Knight did just that permanently: just walked away, into the woods. In an amazing story chronicled in THE STRANGER IN THE WOODS, written by journalist Michael Finkel, Knight left his home in Massachusetts and drove to Maine, where he set up camp in the wilderness in 1986…and stayed there for the next twenty-seven years. Not speaking to anyone. You’ve seen the show “Naked and Afraid” and “Survivor.” What if the show never ended? Why did he do it? “I never fit in anywhere,” Knight said. He was shy, but intelligent. He learned how to store water and food. He hunted. He stole from the nearest town, and left cabins in such a way that one could ever be sure anyone was there. He never visited a doctor. “I was never sick,” he said. “You get sick by being around other people.” He read books, and was eventually caught and jailed…then released. He felt remorse, but also contentment. He preferred to be alone, to be private, with no desire for money or fame or what American culture thinks vitally important. Subtitle is “The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit.” On audio it is narrated by actor Mark Bramhall. It is profound in parts, and reflective. Often we need someone with a completely different viewpoint to hold up a mirror to what we are doing to ourselves. Is his a good example for others? Obviously not. But there is a middle ground between fanaticism and being a hermit or monk, and we can all learn from such a story.

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