By Cheryl Strayed


The trees were tall, but I was taller, standing above them on a steep mountain slope in northern California. Moments before, I’d removed my hiking boots and the left one had fallen into those trees, first catapulting into the air when my enormous backpack toppled onto it, then skittering across the gravelly trail and flying over the edge. It bounced off of a rocky outcropping several feet beneath me before disappearing into the forest canopy below, impossible to retrieve. I let out a stunned gasp, though I’d been in the wilderness thirty-eight days and by then I’d come to know that anything could happen and that everything would. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t shocked when it did. My boot was gone. Actually gone.

这里的树木高耸入云。此时,我正站在北加利福尼亚州一处陡峭的山坡上,一览脚下这些树木的高大身姿。我刚刚脱掉徒步旅行靴,左脚的靴子已经沉入树海。我硕大的背包倒在了这只靴子上,将靴子弹到了空中,它掠过铺满沙砾的碎石径,飞过山路的边缘,在下面一块突出来的岩石上反弹了一下,接着就飞入山坡上郁郁葱葱的树丛之中,再也没了踪影。我不禁倒吸了一口冷气。虽然我已经在野外生存了38 个日夜,对“万事皆有可能”这句话已经深有体会,而且已经见识了任何意外都可能会发生的无奈,但这并不意味着我能在突发情况下依然稳如泰山。我的一只靴子就这么没了,真的就这么没了。

I clutched its mate to my chest like a baby, though of course it was futile. What is one boot without the other boot? It is nothing. It is useless, an orphan forevermore, and I could take no mercy on it. It was a big lug of a thing, of genuine heft, a brown leather Raichle boot with a red lace and silver metal fasts. I lifted it high and threw it with all my might and watched it fall into the lush trees and out of my life.

我把另一只靴子像抱婴儿一样紧紧贴在胸口,但这又有何用呢?少了一只靴子,另一只又有什么存在的意义呢?它什么都不是,已沦为永远的孤儿。对它,我不能留一丝悲悯之心。这只靴子可真不是个小物件,沉甸甸的,是一只棕色皮革制成的、带有红色鞋带和银色金属扣襻儿的Raichle 牌徒步靴。我把靴子高高举起,用尽全力抛了出去,眼睁睁地看着它飞入葱郁的密林,目送着它离开了我的世界。

I was alone. I was barefoot. I was twenty-six years old and an orphan too. An actual stray, a stranger had observed a couple of weeks before, when I’d told him my name and explained how very loose I was in the world. My father left my life when I was six. My mother died when I was twenty-two. In the wake of her death, my stepfather morphed from the person I considered my dad into a man I only occasionally recognized. My two siblings scattered in their grief, in spite of my efforts to hold us together, until I gave up and scattered as well.

我赤着双脚,形单影只。当时,我26 岁,和那只靴子一样,也是个孤儿。几周前,我把我的姓名告诉了一个陌生人。我告诉他,自己在这世上总有种离群之感。他说,人如其名,我就和我姓氏传达的意思一样,是个无依无靠的人。我的父亲在我6岁的时候就离开了家,母亲在我22 岁时离开了人世。在守夜的那天晚上,我的继父在我眼中完全丧失了“父亲”的形象,变成了一个我几乎不认识的人。虽然我努力想要修补伤痛导致的家庭裂痕,但陷在悲恸之中的姐姐和弟弟还是跟我渐行渐远。最终我也只好放手,跟他们疏远。

New words

1. prologue 英  ['prəʊlɒg] 美  ['prolɔɡ] 

n. 序言

e.g. McCartney contributes a prologue to the book, in which he explains, "We were looking for something different.


2. catapult 英  ['kætəpʌlt] 美  ['kætəpʌlt] 

vi. 弹射;快速移动

e.g. Sam was catapulted into the air by the force of the blast.


3. enormous 英  [ɪ'nɔːməs] 美  [ɪ'nɔrməs] 

adj. 庞大的,巨大的

e.g. It has enormous consequences for our troops.


4. topple 英  ['tɒp(ə)l] 美  ['tɑpl]  

vi. 倾倒;倒塌

e.g. nd to save the world economy we must topple these dangerous romantics from their pedestals.


5. skitter 英  ['skɪtə] 

vi. 飞掠而过

e.g. Geoff’s eyes skitter over the surface.


6. gravelly 英  ['græv(ə)lɪ] 美  ['ɡrævəli] 

adj. 多碎石的

e.g. The truck turned off the main road along the gravelly track which led to the farm


7. outcropping ['aut,krɔpiŋ] 

n. 出露地表;露出;露头

e.g. Josh runs up an incline to a rocky outcropping.


8. canopy 英  ['kænəpɪ] 美  ['kænəpi] 

n. 树冠

e.g. It's a tree, not a vine, and its canopy crowns our house with flowers.


9. stunned 英  [stʌnd] 美  [stʌnd] 

adj. 受惊的

e.g. He looked completely stunned.


10. futile 英  ['fjuːtaɪl] 美  ['fjʊtaɪl] 

adj. 无用的,徒劳的

e.g. My efforts to go back to sleep proved futile.


11. forevermore 英  [fə,revə'mɔː] 

adv. 永远地

e.g. You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.


12. heft 英  [heft] 美  [hɛft] 

n. 重量;重要性

e.g. Exporters also have more political heft.


13. lush 英  [lʌʃ] 美  [lʌʃ] 

adj. 苍翠繁茂的

e.g. The fields were lush with grass and flowers.


14. stray 英  [streɪ] 美  [stre] 

n. 走失的家畜;流浪者

e.g. As for her personal safety, she said she isn't overly worried but does think about what a stray lunatic could do.


15. morph 英  [mɔːf] 美  [mɔrf] 

vt. 改变

e.g. he river flooded its banks and morphed into a giant sea that swamped the town.


16. sibling 英  ['sɪblɪŋ] 美  ['sɪblɪŋ] 

n. 兄弟姊妹;民族成员

e.g. Most young smokers are influenced by their friends’ and older siblings’ smoking habits.


17. scatter 英  ['skætə] 美  ['skætɚ] 

vi. 分开,散开

e.g. The sound of gunfire made the crowd scatter in all directions.



1.bounce off 弹开,反弹

2.let out 放出



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