Godfather of travel advises: ‘Be patient’

Featured image: “God Bless America,” a sculpture by Seward Johnson, anchored the 2017 placement of 57 life-size sculptures across Elkhart County. Held-over until this week, the out-sized 25-foot sculpture of father and daughter traveled to Johnson’s Iowa boyhood hometown.


Cogitation 24 Saturday 16 June 2018   Paul Theroux said his best travel advice is, “Be patient.”

Theroux spoke those sage words in an interview with Alexander Bisley on BBC NEWS (a daily online service, June 14). Theroux is considered the godfather of contemporary travel, Bisley wrote.

Theroux’s new book, Figures in a Landscape, Houghton Miffin Harcourt, is now available. The book is a collection of essays, including reflections from travel in Africa, Hawaii, and elsewhere.

Why travel? Bisley quotes Theroux from the book: “While weighing the risks and being judicious, travel in an uncertain world, in a time of change, has never seemed to me more essential, of greater importance or more enlightening.” Right on. I’ll travel to the library to check it out.


Armchair travel 

I’m having an interesting armchair trip to Scotland during the years 1679-89, with the book, Old Mortality,  mentioned two posts ago.

A brief description notes, “Old Mortality counts its admirers by the million, and many are prepared to assert that Scott never conceived a finer humorist than Cuddy Headrigg. As a picture of covenanting times Old Mortality has never been surpassed.”

Old Mortality gives you the heebie-jebbies of how groups and individuals within a nation address injustice while other groups and individuals in the same nation, under the power of king and government, suppress rebellion, the most fanatical in both groups responding with cutthroat violence.

Both factions claim religious allegiance, the disaffected group desiring the reformation both of the church and state. Suffice it to say people on both and myriad sides stand by claims of what is right and what makes for peace, though the clamor for violent, bloody, death-making means outstrips the ways of pacification.

The main character, while fictional, is Henry Morton, accompanied by his sidekick, Cuddy Headrigg.  Morton is being pressed into unwilling service for the rebels. He tells their leader, “I feel this mark of confidence, and it is not surprising that a natural sense of the injuries of my country, not to mention those I have sustained in my own person, should make me sufficiently willing to draw my sword for liberty and freedom of conscience. But I will own to you, that I must be better satisfied concerning the principles on which you bottom your cause ere I can agree to take a command amongst you.” (p.238)

Morton seesaws through the bloody conflict, ramrod straight, standing up for proper principles, strategizing, confronting forces on both sides (Christians fighting Christians), pining chivalrously for a seemingly lost love. One patiently hopes he’ll find resolution at the end. I have 60 pages to go. Be patient. God help us all.

A bookmark fell out of Old Mortality recently. It’s a Reserved notice for train travel from London Paddington to Penzance, for travel 21 December 1969. I bought the book in a charity shop in Penzance in April 2018. The original owner was a student at Addey and Stanhope Secondary School, New Cross, London, Form V13 Girls.


Changes afoot

Changes afoot this week include cottonwood floating through the air, a solitary Mayfly landing on our window (harbinger of a throng, I predict), early morning walks to avoid the day’s heat, a walk though a neighborhood and early industrial area being cleared for a big residential, recreational and commercial development, and, of course, sightings of birds and flowers.

Check out Elkhart River District online for a view of the development that is coming to this 105-acre parcel bounded by the Elkhart and St Joseph rivers, Main Street downtown, and Prairie/Johnson Street on the east end. The end result is to be a walkable, residential, recreational, retail and commercial expansion to downtown Elkhart.

Here’s a sampling of sights from our walks this week:

Utilities are being buried in the Elkhart River District, a 105-acrea development. Work here is on Jackson Boulevard.
Part of the 2018 Elkhart County Quilt Gardens and Murals: Educate, Enlighten & Entertain.
May the Monarch butterfly find the milkweed plants at the Elkhart Public Library and elsewhere about town.
Bow Tie garden at Ruthmere, Elkhart, one among 18 quilt-inspired gardens and 21 hand-painted murals countywide.
A John Mishler piece on Elkhart’s Riverwalk.
A robustly grand morning sky forms a canopy over Elkhart’s busiest river crossing, the Johnson Street Bridge.


Saturday morning musing

This morning we set out early for a walk but turned around with the sky looking thundery  ominous.

Be patient. Good advice for when you need to queue at the grocery store, the pharmacy, the Post Office, a busy bridge, wait for better weather, want the resolution of a story, when traveling the world. Just be patient. Just be. Peace.










2 thoughts on “Godfather of travel advises: ‘Be patient’

  1. We liked Seward Johnson and his sculptures. We also liked Theroux and Bender’s advice to Be Paient and just Be!


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