Le Journal

juillet, 2022
July, 2022

Now Comes Good Sailing
Every Sunday when The New York Times arrives on our doorstep, the first section I look for is the “Book Review.”  Always thought-provoking, often both esoteric and broad in scope, the “Review” never fails to pique my interest with a new author, a fresh publication, or an old classic revisited. Several months ago a two-column review of an anthology on Henry David Thoreau gave me reason to re-evaluate what’s truly important now and what mattered most to Thoreau, author of the 19th-century masterwork, “Walden.”  In his review of “Now Comes Good Sailing, Writers Reflect on Henry David Thoreau,” University of Massachusetts professor John Kaag highlights a recurring theme among the 27 contributors to “Good Sailing,” which is the basic lesson of Thoreau’s Walden Pond. In Kaag’s words it’s this, “that our immediate concerns usually obscure the important ones, and almost always distract us from what is ultimate, the chance to live and die with the knowledge that we have tried to ‘truly live.’” * To put it another way, under the noise and blur and weariness of our daily routines lies abundance, obvious only when we truly give ourselves the time to notice it.

Last month, my family and I visited Paris for the first time since 2019 and the onset of the Covid pandemic. From my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, tiny from my perspective flying high above the city, my heart was in my throat and my love of France washed over me once again. The language, the food, and the landmarks brought a flood of emotion and a sense of reconnecting, but the deepest reunion was with loved ones there — some of whom we had not seen in decades. When those moments come, as they did in Paris, and we recognize what is real and true, we realize what has withstood the tests of time and distance. We understand that the most meaningful relationships are never truly lost. Abundance at last — heart’s home found once again!

Our trip was a short one, but full of anticipation of more visits to Paris very soon, and more chances to experience that joy that’s never truly gone, even when buried deep below the details of responsibility and obligation. When we returned to Louisiana, I discovered the clipping of the Thoreau review which I had dog-eared and saved. On reading it once again, I was reminded that Thoreau himself whispered the words, “Now comes good sailing,” to a family member while on his deathbed— words of hope and an invitation to stay open to all of life’s abundant possibilities every day. Here’s to friendships and affairs of the heart that know no bounds, that endure, that can be counted on— now comes good sailing!

  • “Transcendence,”  by John Kaag, Sunday, November 28, 2021