Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Journeys of Simplicity ~ Book Contemplation


My friend Michelle sent me this beautiful little book which arrived yesterday afternoon, a delightful compendium of short bios and, on the facing pages, quotes from a range of writers and others about the "things they carried" on their journeys.  Some of them I am familiar with, some not at all.  It reminds me of Tim O'Brien's Vietnam book and essay of the same name, The Things They Carried, which I once used as the jumping off point for a blog post on the things we carry in grief  ~ things being less tangible than not.

You might see the humor in Thoreau's (he of Walden Pond simplicity ~ of sorts) list for a 12-day canoe trip into the Maine woods: 166 pounds of stuff, "enough to nearly swamp the canoe when they launched it."

My favorites so far:

For Basho's Great Walk, Basho being a 17th century Buddhist wanderer and poet, a short list of items, ending with

"discomfort and vexation
all the way"

and also

a list of the contents of Father Zossima's cell (from The Brothers Karamazov),

Bilbo's list of what he takes as he sets out for a walk, including what he forgets,

and the "Baggage for the Arctic Tern's 22,000 Mile Migration."  The facing page is empty.

Quite a wonderful little book.

1 comment:

  1. I got it for the Basho, I'm going to admit, right before the Japan trip...