08 July 2008
I've just read Steven Faulkner's Waterwalk, a memoir of his canoe journey from the upper North to St. Louis to "discover" the Mississippi with his son Justin, following the route of Marquet and Joliet. It's a good book -- Faulkner is a good descriptive writer, and his meditations on his relationship with his son are honest and thoughtful. There are days of lovely solitude, of excitement and near-disaster, of back-breaking boredom. There's history as he weaves the two journeys together. I found his discussions of environmental and technological issues a bit heavy-handed; even though I agee with quite a bit of what he says, it felt more like being preached at than reflective musing, which is what the rest of the book seems to call for. But despite that particular flaw (to me; others won't mind it), the book is well worth reading to encourage one to think again about the need to slow down, to see what's around us, to reflect, to try to connect with mind and heart instead of cell phone and Facebook. And, in the end, to remember that we can only know so much of any other created being, that we are mysteries even to ourselves, that wisdom can be passed on but must also be learned, each of us in his own unique journey. We may travel together for a time, but even together we may be in very different places; finally, we can only love and pray.