I just got back from a few days on the road. I spent some time with friends and canoed for a bit, then stayed with an old friend (from fourth grade) in Cornell since Sunday. He’s an RA there and is spending the week looking after the seniors before the graduate. Really, he just wants to see his girlfriend, I think.
It gave me time to break my stagnation at home and sketch a few ideas for another essay. I hope to start it soon–ideally tomorrow. I finished some major edits on a short story today and hope to send that out as well. Writing, reading, traveling, writing. It seems like there should be formula somewhere.
As I sketch out my essay and review the notes I made during my trip, I hope to write more about travel, but in the mean time, here’s a sketch since I haven’t posted in a few days.
I’m not sure if I’m a “traveler” or not. I’ve only been abroad twice, and have only visited a handful of states, but I am still young. Perhaps that’s a start. In a few weeks I’ll be in Egypt, teaching English in a Coptic seminary. Looks to be an adventure.
I’m not after adventure, but I’m searching for a change. I hate stagnation. I often think of a passage from a book I read in an introductory philosophy class: Think on These Things. It’s a particular passage on streams and stagnation in Ch 17. It’s a beautiful reflection that I return to often since my first semester at college. In particular, the author Khrishnamurti writes:
Have you not noticed that if you sit quietly on the banks of the river you hear its song – the lapping of the water, the sound of the current going by? There is always a sense of movement, an extraordinary movement towards the wider and the deeper. But in the little pool there is no movement at all, its water is stagnant. And if you observe you will see that this is what most of us want: little stagnant pools of existence away from life. We say that our pool-existence is right, and we have invented a philosophy to justify it; we have developed social, political, economic and religious theories in support of it, and we don’t want to be disturbed because, you see, what we are after is a sense of permanency. Do you know what it means to seek permanency? It means wanting the pleasurable to continue indefinitely and wanting that which is not pleasurable to end as quickly as possible.
The message is clear: keep moving, keep growing, keep exploring. I’ll let Khrishnamurti speak for the bulk of what I think, as I agree completely. For me, stagnation is like death. Thus travel breaks it, and by breaking it, allows new life.