This morning I woke up with a start: India. I have been pretending that this was not going to happen. But in two weeks I head to the Himalayas. What have I done to prepare? Nothing. So, I raced to the computer where I bought a neck pillow for the airplane[s] and changed my beneficiaries on my retirement plan. Odd preparation. Before I go to Europe, I obsess over what clothes to bring. Will I be warm enough? Formal enough? For this trip, none of this seems to apply. Who needs a little black dress in Sikkim?
When I wrote my book on Anne Bradstreet I noticed that seventeenth-century Puritans were always talking about “preparation”: “The Lord prepareth a path for the faithful,” or “Let us prepare for our journey.” They meant it practically speaking, of course, as in “to get ready,” but as with most things Puritan there was a profound religious connotation: to prepare meant to ready one’s soul, examine one’s conscience, pray and repent, etc. But it also meant making sure that there were enough barrels of ale and heads of cheese on the ships to America.
I think I need to look to my soul and to my suitcase.