Friday, May 4, 2012

One Man's Trash...

By Cassie Michelotti

          Do you know the story of Young Goodman Brown? The young puritan walks into the woods eventually encountering the members of his community participating in a secret evil ritual and his wife is being initiated and he is never the same again. That is basically the idea of the story, and while not quite as dramatic I too have stumbled upon a secret community in the middle of the woods.
          It all started on the old Erie Railroad line; the section I was on runs parallel to 9W in Piermont. I have gone running on this trail many times, but one day I parked by the former Piermont train station to start my run and noticed a book sitting on a bench, like it was waiting for its owner to return and continue reading it.
          I do not know why I even noticed the book, just that it seemed a bit out of place on a trail that people  hike, run, or bike on. I finished my run and the book was still there. I left only to return the next day to find it untouched. I found this a bit odd but still did not investigate any further. The next day it rained. So on the fourth day I returned and the book had disappeared; on the way back to my car I noticed the book sitting in a trash can in the middle of the trail.
          Now I do not want anyone to think I rummage through the trash on a regular basis but the book was just perched on top and my failure to pick it up would have resulted in it ending up in some dump never to be read again, and it seemed awfully wasteful, so I picked it up.
          Though a bit damp from the previous day’s rain, I turned the book over to find it was a copy of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, a book about a journalist who summited Mt. Everest, whose expedition fell prey to the deadliest season in the history of Everest.
          There was a sticker on the front cover that read, “Take me home with you!”. On the inside cover was another sticker which read, “A book can take us to so many places we’ve never been before and this one likes to do some traveling too!” It then gives the website again and an ID number, then continues, “You’ll discover where I’ve been and who has read me, and can let them know I’m safe here in your hands. Then….READ and RELEASE me!”
          Once back in my dorm room, I logged on to the website and entered the book’s ID number. It turns out the book was released, or left out in public, by a woman from Garnerville, NY. About the book she posted:
          “This is the compelling story of the author's climb up Mt. Everest. I'm in awe of the bravery and drive of people who undertake such incredible and dangerous trips. The story is inspirational, but not for the faint-of-heart (there are some disturbing parts). Perfect for the armchair adventurer!
          At Train Station (historical landmark) in Piermont NY. It's on a bench inside the front door. Lucky you, you found a traveling book! It's on a journey to entertain new readers, so please make a journal entry to let me know it's in safe hands. I hope you enjoy this amazing book (my gift to you), and when you're finished please pass it along for someone else to find (or keep it if you like). Happy reading and Happy Labor Day!”
           Though I found this book closer to Christmas than to Labor Day, I am still grateful to its original owner who not only allowed me to read a very good book, but to discover this secret community of book sharing that happens all across the globe. I have not yet decided which book I intend to release into the wild, but I definitely plan on becoming an active member of this community.

 Cassie Michelotti is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College majoring in Graphic Design.

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