No man will speak to his master; but to a wanderer and a friend, to him who does not come to teach or to rule, to him who asks for nothing and accepts all things, words are spoken by the camp-fires, in the shared solitude of the sea, in riverside villages, in resting-places surrounded by forests–words are spoken that take no account of race or colour. One heart speaks–another one listens; and the earth, the sea, the sky, the passing wind and the stirring leaf, hear also the futile tale of the burden of life.
Joseph Conrad – Karain: A Memory
Pretentiousness might be an odd title for my first ever blog post. It probably doesn’t garner a lot of enthusiasm for those who might be interested in reading on. But, I do feel that the blog title ‘The Stirring Leaf’ requires an explanation and I really need to put it out there that even I, the author of this blog, think that choosing a quote from Joseph Conrad about my world travels is pretty pretentious. There will be no Heart of Darkness style navigation into the haunted inner workings of the human psyche. It won’t be an expose of the hypocrisy of Western colonialism.
It is in fact, a blog with a simple purpose. It is a chance for me to put down in words my thoughts and feelings as I embark on a stint of world travel. I can’t remember the first time I read the above quote from Conrad – a quote that struck a chord with its simple message and evocative imagery. As I embark on what I hope will be a year or two of travel I can only hope that I get a chance to do the things that Conrad’s text brings to mind. To sit and talk with people I have never met around camp fires, by the sea, on riverside docks, in peaceful forests and in a hundred other places that I can’t even imagine yet.
Of course, I could have just as easily called the blog ‘The Passing Wind’ and while that might more accurately reflect the content of my posts, it didn’t really set the tone that I was going for. I am hoping that the blog can, like the stirring leaf, be a witness to the futile tale of the burden of life.