On cool, grey wintry days, it is a habit to pull old classics off the shelf and read and re-read some favorite passages. My love for Steinbeck’s writing is no secret. I’ve labored to emulate his elegant simple style in my verse.
Like me, Steinbeck was a nomad. We are travelers. And coming after a year of virtually no travel, I decided this morning to just glance through my old friend ‘Travels with Charley‘
I had hoped for one more long road trip with Mandela, but she wasn’t able to hold out. Maybe Pops and I will get the chance this year. Maybe we can disappear with the Lewis & Clark unit for a month or two after my current gig ends in July. I wouldn’t mind taking the canoe (still unnamed—but I have some time) up to the boundary waters. Not sure how 65 lb Pops would do, but the canoe is plenty big enough for us both.
Anyway, always good to flip through this old classic and I have copied down here a couple of my favorite passages.
“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age.In middle age I was assured greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ships’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, once a bum always a bum. I fear this disease incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself….A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
“I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I’ve lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment.”
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
Pops and I got out early this morning. Around 6:00. He is a slow walker. A sniffer. Following the scent to end of the leash to find the origin I suppose. He is a mellow old dog. Cheerful and happy all the time. I have set him up with 3 beds. One downstairs in the small room next to the kitchen. From there he can snooze while keeping one eye open on me in case I drop something and he is needed for clean-up. Another bed just next to my desk, where I spend a good bit of time every day. And the 3rd bed is in his small condo inside my bedroom, where he mostly likes to sleep. I say mostly because for parts of the last two nights, he has come out and gotten in bed with me for a bit, but then returned to his own place.
These last couple of days have been nice. I’ve been lazy and catching up on sleep. I always feel a little guilt on these lazy days, but never enough to deter me from the nap I feel I’ve earned. But I know EarthExplore will not market itself. My book will not write itself. My blog will not generate new content routinely without me. My work, the work that pays the bills, has to get done. The canoe needs finished. Painting to be done in the house. A new dog to be walked. Obama’s book to be read.
I’ve been thinking about releasing an audio copy of Silicon Valley to Southern Africa. That will take a lot of time but might be a fun project.
David Green retired. He was one of the contributors to Morning Edition on NPR for a long time. Good guy. I always appreciated hearing his familiar voice.
I’ve selected a few photos of past adventures just to remind myself that I will be on the road again sometime soon. Random photos taken off the old photo register over the past few years.
No other news of note.