Langston Hughes on "Traveling Light"

As our trip nears (more here), I keep revisiting Langston Hughes’ I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey. In this book, the poet describes a rite of passage at sea: as he travels across the Atlantic to Europe by ship, he releases his books into the ocean.

He writes,

“It was like throwing a million bricks out of my heart when I threw the books into the water . . . all the books I had had at Columbia [University], and all the books I had lately bought to read.”

What Hughes feels after this moment is telling. He takes a deep breath. He feels “that nothing could ever happen to me that I didn’t want to happen”.  By releasing his books, he travels lightly – both physically and emotionally.

When I read this passage, I always want to know more. 

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