You know that emoji with the shocked face, gaping eyes, and raised eyebrows?? 😳 Imagine our goldendoodle, Tilly, with that expression on her people-loving, never-met-a-foe, mild-mannered, pampered face as we drove through the California Napa Valley, listening to The Call of the Wild by Jack London on audio. She had no idea dogs could even act with such violence toward each other or that dog owners would leave their dogs to burrow in a snow pile for warmth at night.
She was aghast!
On our way to the coast for some much-needed time away, we stopped in Glen Ellen, California, at the home of Jack London (1876-1916), one of the first American writers to make successful money during his lifetime (not just posthumously.) He also was one of the first authors to write what would later become known as science fiction.
We listened to The Call of the Wild in the car, quickly invested in the life of Buck – the fictional main character (dog) of London’s 1903 novel. Driving through the vineyard country, then through the magnificent redwoods, on to the sandy beaches of the Pacific, we listened and gasped and reassuringly patted Tilly’s head as we made our way westward.
Calling on his canine ancestors, Buck endured difficult days, learning experiences, and eventually, to trust and love again.
He was older than the days he had seen and the breaths he had drawn.
We have much to learn from our four-legged companions, a wealth of wisdom and insight at our fingertips, in the lives lived of generations past.
Rattlesnakes aside, we walked the grounds of London’s home, graveyard, and museum and picked up a few of his treasured short stories to add to our library.
It was difficult to photograph due to the lighting, but this view from his home looked out over the coastal mountains with pine trees enveloping the house. I mean… who couldn’t write with a view like that?!
Precursor to John Steinbeck, London wrote with the same rugged determination that many of his American literary comrades strove to achieve…the wild West calling to their masculine imagery and dreams. London was part of the radical literary group “The Crowd” in San Francisco and a passionate advocate of workers’ rights and socialism.
After our literary pit stop, Tilly, Scott, and I (a trio of not so rough and tough, hardened adventurers) packed back in our car and kept driving West toward our final destination.
The wild was calling us, but in a much more mildly temperate fashion.