Down House Visit
I’m going to be leaving in a few days to go to the UK. One of the reasons for my trip is to visit Charles Darwin’s residence, Down House, in Kent. I’ve been there before but wish to return as part of my research for Looking for Darwin: I want my impressions to be fresh ones.
The remark has been made that Looking for Darwin is an in the footsteps type book. But it’s not really. The distinction may appear subtle, yet it is important. Looking for Darwin is a quest or search type book. It is not my intention to blindly go where Darwin went; to recreate his life. I am much more interested in finding the essence of Darwin’s ideas. To that extent, I do travel to many of those places he visited, but I do so to gain insight into the view of the world that he articulated.
Nevertheless, what biologist could go to Down House and not be excited simply by the prospect of sharing the same space where a great man had great ideas. I’m particularly keen to see the sand-walk again, the path around which Darwin walked each day and did so much of his thinking. I have something similar: it is a path near my house where I walk my dog, Mocha. And, even on those days when I do not feel like going out, I know that if I do the reward will be the time for reflection, the time to think. We could all learn a thing or two from the way Darwin lived his life as much as from where he lived it.