Rio da Dúvida – The River of Doubt

The River

“The mightiest river in the world is the Amazon.  It runs from west to east, from the sunset to the sunrise, from the Andes to the Atlantic. The main stream flows almost along the equator, while the basin which contains the affluents extends many degrees north and south of the equator.”

Theodore Roosevelt, Through the Brazilian Wilderness

The New Year is a beginning.  And when there is a beginning, there seems to be an undercurrent of promised adventures.  Humanity has always been fascinated by the unknown, the thrill of discovery, and the prospect for advancement.  What is less understood is the concept of risk.  Where there is the opportunity for reward, there is always a likelihood of some form of peril.

This River flowed northward toward the equator, but whither it would go, whether it would turn one way or another, the length of its course, where it would come out, the character of the stream itself, and the character of the dwellers along its banks – all these things were yet to be discovered.”

Theodore Roosevelt, Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Theodore “T.R.” Roosevelt, Jr. was a man of action and adventure.  His high-spirited personality and robust appearance belied his sickly childhood clouded by the presence of asthma. Courage and determination pushed him forward, despite losing his first wife and mother on the same day, February 14, 1884.   At 42, he became the youngest President of the United States and the first of three sitting presidents to win the Nobel Peace Prize.   His terms in office were eventful:  The acquisition of the Panama Canal Rights (1904); the Russo-Japanese War (1904 – 1905), the San Francisco earthquake (1906) and the Panic of 1907 where the New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50% from its peak the previous year.  Yet Theodore Roosevelt’s most dramatic adventure was 1913 – 1914 when he teamed up with Cândido Rondon, Brazil’s most famous explorer to follow the River of Doubt, an uncharted tributary of the Amazon, one of the most dangerous and treacherous rivers in the world.  Confident at the outset, the hardships, losses and sickness challenged their resolve. Surviving became a daily goal.

The expedition changed the map of the western hemisphere and the name of the river: Roosevelt River.   In his letter of May 1, 1914 to His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rio de Janeiro, Theodore Roosevelt wrote “My dear Sir, I thank you from my heart for the chance to take part in this great work of exploration.”

Once an adventure starts, there is no telling where it will lead.  As we head into a New Year, may we be open to new ideas and possibilities, to seek the greater good, and to strive with great enthusiasm.

45 thoughts on “Rio da Dúvida – The River of Doubt

  1. Thanks again (I think I thanked you sometime before :) ) for so many wonderful and interesting posts. Will be looking forward to many more in 2014.
    Happy New Year!

    • Thank you so much for your music and laughter! 2014 – here we come, ready or not…. :) :) :)

      “We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
      Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
      ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

  2. I have read snippets on Theodore Roosevelt, but never studied in depth what amazing things this man felt and accomplished. Must rectify that deficiency.

    • I didn’t study Roosevelt in depth either. History is to big, how can we know everything?!! There are so many stories, events, thoughts and ideas that are hidden in the folds of centuries. But I happened upon “River of Doubt” by Candice Millard. And then I found Roosevelt’s book on Amazon and $1.99 Kindle Edition. So many books, so little time – always something exciting to read. Happy New Year! I am looking forward to our ongoing conversation in 2014!!!

      “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
      Helen Keller

    • I feel the exact same way. Thank you for bringing compassion and hope to our blogging community… :) Happy, Happy New Year – all the very best to you and yours!! Blogging Adventures will continue in 2014!!! Only 1 more sleep!

      “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
      ― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

    • I promised myself that I would learn SoundCloud before the end of 2013 – one of my goals. I left it to the very last minute, but I was encouraged by a couple of bloggers who had embraced the technology. It is very easy – and fun!!! Happy New Year – all the very best to you and yours in 2014. I am looking forward to our ongoing dialogue! :)

  3. Coming from the province of Québec, Canada, the province who destroyed most, if not all, save one or two of its magnificent rivers, and by extension their surrounding natural animal habitats, all for commercially motivated Hydro Quebec producers beyond our needs, I remain your strong supporter in promoting the preservation of the world’s rivers. JJ

    • Your passion and commitment to our environment is a continual source of inspiration to me. What I discovered in my readings of Theodore Roosevelt was his dedication to the environment, which was a major factor in his decision to take on the challenge of the Amazon expedition. All the very best in the New Year to you and yours! Many thanks for connecting over the blogger miles.

      “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”
      ― Theodore Roosevelt

    • Thank you so much for adding debt to this post! Theodore had an adventurous spirit – I am not as bold, but I try to do something that scares me everyday!! Happy New Year – it’s here and I’m heading out into open waters….

      “For a new year to bring you something new, make a move, like a butterfly tearing its cocoon! Make a move!” Mehmet Murat ildan

  4. Thank you for this post, very inspiring to say the least. I remember our lessons about this great man many years ago in a one-room school house in the middle of Nebraska. All of us, all eight grades, listened intently as the teacher read and spoke of “Teddy Roosevelt”. He was an historian, an explorer–and maybe his greatest contribution was his love of nature and the outdoors.

    • I smiled when I heard that he didn’t like being called “Teddy” and yet the “Teddy Bear” has been named after him. I enjoyed reading about this adventure…

      Happy Happy New Year! :)

  5. Another post with a beautiful reading, thank you. And how fascinating too – I have ordered The River of Doubt to add to the pile! And, linked with my comment on your other blog, my point about opportunities applies here too, I think – here’s to whatever adventures which 2014 will no doubt bring! :)

    • I have so many piles and piles and piles of wonderful books to read. They tempt me, and yet TIME digs in its heels and say that there is only 24 hours in a day. “River of Doubt” is a page turner – you won’t want to put it down. It led me to the journals of Theodore Roosevelt. What a remarkable journal – you can tell he loved nature and was a strong supporter of the environment. Day 2 of the New Year! It is already amazing.

  6. Well, that was a wonderful message you read there, sorry it took me so long to hear it – very inspiring indeed, so true, every word! :) And what a wonderful confident voice you have, so good to hear your voice Rebecca!! I see you’ve been very busy on SoundCloud while I’ve been away! :D

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging comments!! I am having fun with SoundCloud. I find that reading and listening has increased the enjoyment of poetry and verse. Welcome back! You have been missed!!! :)

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