"I had diverged, digressed, wandered, and become wild. I didn’t embrace my new name [Strayed] because it defined negative aspects of my circumstances or life, but because even in my darkest days—those very days in which I was naming myself—I saw the power of the darkness. Saw that, in fact, I had strayed and I was a stray and that from the wild places my straying had brought me, I knew things I couldn’t have known before."
"But walking along a path I carved for myself- one I hoped was the PCT- was the opposite of using heroin. The trigger I’d pulled in stepping into the snow made me more alive to my senses than ever. Uncertain as I was as I pushed forward, I felt right in my pushing, as if the effort itself meant something. That perhaps being amidst the undesecrated beauty of the wildnerness meant I too could be undescrated, regardless of what I’d lost or what had been taken from me, regardless of the regrettable things I’d done to others or myself or the regrettable things that had been done to me. Of all the things I’d been skeptical about, I didn’t feel skeptically about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me."
"It had been so silent in the wake of that commotion, a kind of potent silence that seemed to contain everything. The songs of the birds and the creak of the trees. The dying snow and unseen gurgling water. The glimmering sun. The certain sky. The gun that didn’t have a bullet in its chamber. And the mother. Always the mother. The one who would never come to me."