I slipped into the quiet cave of my tent and climbed into my sleeping bag with a shimmy and a zip.
What a day.
It was such a nostalgic journey to sort through the things that had influenced who I am today, and to document how they impacted my life. I thought about all that had happened so far and all that might be in store for me beyond this day. The roar of possibilities cascaded through the current of my mind, flooding me with curiosity, gratitude, and wonder.
My racing mind gradually trickled down to the slow drip of a spring in late summer and I drifted into dreams.
I saw my wildling in the same familiar landscape, but also in places entirely new to me. I felt its eyes on me, searching deep into my soul. I was overcome by an incredible desire to chase it—to finally finally see where it’s been leading me.
But then something caught my attention. Another creature had entered my dream. I could tell it was a wildling: it had the same fiery constitution, the same piercing eyes. But it was not my wildling. And I saw it in different settings than my wildling had been in. A clump of brush. A rocky ledge.
The wildling looked at me. I had looked into its eyes, but I didn’t feel that same sense of being completely known, or that same desire to rush after it. But still, it felt very important to me. But why?
My dreams gradually turned to the stillness of restful sleep and soon the sun was dotting my face through tent seams. I popped my head out of my tent and caught a glimpse of the sun. Wow, I had really slept in that morning.
My curiosity from the night before carried me to the breakfast line. I grabbed some food and anxiously waited for Michael to start clean up. He happily accepted my offer to help cart the dishes back to the lodge.
On our way, I talked about Michael’s love for old-school video games. As we rounded the bend in sight of the lodge, the conversation hit a lull and I walked in silence for a few paces.
“Big day yesterday,” Michael said.
“Yes,” I said. “I love seeing the physical evidence of the ways the person I am has been shaped by the work and creation and ideas of so many others who came before me.”
“It’s true. None of us have gotten where we are on our own. We need other people in order to fully understand who we are and the worlds that are ours to create.”
I nodded. “I had a weird dream last night. I was chasing my wildling when suddenly a different wildling appeared. I know it wasn’t mine, but I can’t get it out of my mind.”
“Ahhh. That means you’re ready,” Michael said, as we pushed the carts through the large door at the opening of the lodge.
“Ready for what?” I asked.
“Have you heard about the wolfgoats?”
“Rosin mentioned something about them. Said they’re dangerous,” I said, “which is basically the majority of what Rosin seems to say—needwells are dangerous, wolfgoats are dangerous, socks are probably dangerous, too.”
Michael ignored the jab at Rosin.
“One of the reasons wolfgoats are such a threat is because they are incredibly smart and cunning,” he said. “They travel in packs, but they’re not powerful because of the brute force of numbers, it’s because they know individual members of their pack so well that they can communicate without speaking.”
“Wolfgoat ESP?” I giggled.
“You laugh, but the thing is, we can do that, too,” he said, as we left the dish carts in the kitchen and began to make our way to the library.
“This library may look ordinary, but it’s actually alive in a way,” said Michael.
“It’s ALIIIIIIIVE!” I said in my best Dr. Frankenstein voice. My curiosity always puts me in a playful mood.
“Hah, yep—seriously!” Michael said. “When you shelve your resources, writing your name in each one and describing its impact on your life, the library learns who you are and begins to see patterns you share with other people in the community. You said you saw another wildling?”
“That’s your clue the library’s chosen someone for you to create a deeper connection with. You won’t be able to find your wildling without them.”
“Okay, so how do I find them?” I asked. “I see their wildling in my mind, but I don’t see them. What am I supposed to do?”
“Here, take this. I think it’s yours,” Michael said. He handed me the book he had been looking through. “Look in the back.”
I opened the book to the back and noticed a card there, traditionally used for signing borrowed books in and out. Written on the card were a series of names, with a hand-written inscription beside each, describing why the book was important to that person.
But one of the names and inscriptions was glowing. I ran my fingers over it and felt a warmth coming from the page.
“Is this the person? Is the one whose wildling I’ve been seeing?” I asked.
“You’ll have to figure that out yourself,” Michael said.
“Where do I find them? What do I do?” I asked.
“It’s easy,” Michael said. “Just wait. The writers are going to have her show up in the very next sentence.”
“Handy!” I said, laughing.
Suddenly, another person walked in the room, holding a book in their hand.
“Hey Michael, do you know who this belongs to?” the other person asked.
Michael evaded the question. “I’ve got to go sync up with Rosin, but I think the two of you should get to know each other,” he said.
Somehow, I knew this was the person from the book.