What I'm Reading

Reliving Youth

Youth is a stage of life everyone goes through, even the most renowned writers. Surprisingly, their days of longing for freedom differ little from that of today’s young people.

In “The Years of Wonder” E.B. White writes how, as a recent college graduate, he takes a journey of self-discovery from New England across America to the Alaskan waters.

Although he signs on the ship Buford as a first-class passenger, White soon begins working with the crew, which he finds more fulfilling than simply being a passenger.

After he endures a three-day storm at sea, White finds that the restless feeling he had back in the East Coast is gone. He writes:

“But in the final hours of the Buford the gale granted me a reprieve. In the fury of the storm, thought was impossible; the future was expunged by wind and water; I lived at last in the present, and the present was magnificent — rich and beautiful and awesome. It gave me all the things I wanted from life, and it was as though I drank each towering wave as it came aboard, as though I would ever be athirst. At last I had adjusted, temporarily, to a difficult world and had conquered it; others were sick, I bloomed with health. In the noise of battle, all the sad silences of my brooding and foreboding were lost. I had always feared and loved the sea, and this gale was my bride and we had a three-day honeymoon, a violent, tumultuous time of undreamed-of ecstasy and satisfaction. Youth is almost always in deep trouble — of the mind, the heart, the flesh. And as a youth I think I managed to heap myself with more than my share. It took an upheaval of the elements and a job at the lowest level to give me the relief I craved.”

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