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Explorations Read-Aloud: “The Way of the Hermit” by Ken Smith

Friday, July 5 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Every Friday, at 11:00 am, on the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page, the library will stream a brand new recording of local thespian, Joseph Coté reading aloud selections from a wide variety of fascinating and entertaining books of fiction and non-fiction.

For July 5, Coté will read aloud from Ken Smith’s book The Way of the Hermit.

Summary: “Subconsciously, I pressed myself into the loch’s banks as that summer inched forward. We’d got off to a rocky beginning, but I started to see Treig in a different way. There was something about this land that told me just to hold on a while longer. It might’ve been just a whisper at the time, but I knew it was definitely worth heeding. I just knew that was it. This was the place.”

Seventy-four-year-old Ken Smith has spent the past four decades in the Scottish Highlands. His home is a log cabin nestled near Loch Treig, known as “the lonely loch,” where he lives off the land. He fishes for his supper, chops his own wood and even brews his own tipple. He is, in the truest sense of the word, a hermit.

From his working-class origins in Derbyshire, Ken always sensed that there was more ot life than an empty nine to five.

Then one day in 1974, an attack from a group of drunken men left him for dead. Determined to change his prospects, Ken quit his job and spent his formative years traveling in the Yukon. It was here, in the vast wilderness of northwestern Canada, that he honed his survival skills and grew closer to nature.

Returning to Britain, he continued his nomadic lifestyle, wandering north and living in huts until he finally reached Loch Treig. Ken decided to lay his roots amongst the dense woodland and Highland air, and has lived there ever since.

Given how plainspoken most of the book is, it’s a surprise that Smith’s recounting of a bout with cancer that had him in and out of the hospital before he could finally return home becomes so moving.

Smith’s acceptance of his own mortality has an enviable lightness. “Let my body give a good feed to the Highland worms,” he writes. “I have led the life I wanted to live and, no matter what happens now, I can depart this earth a deeply satisfied man.” Few of us can say as much, and it feels like a blessing to have spent this time with someone who can.

In The Way of the Hermit, Ken shares the remarkable story of his life for the very first time. Told with humor and compassion, his unique insights allow us to glimpse the awe and wonder of a life lived in nature and offer wisdom on how each of us can escape the pressures and stresses of modern life.

Click the links to find the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page.

Thoughts to share? Book ideas to suggest?
Contact Joseph at friday-explorations@usa.net

55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States