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Let’s face it. If you live in the middle of the woods and like to wander…you’re going to get lost. Sometimes a little bit lost and sometimes you start wondering if you’ll ever find your way home. Sometimes that fear of being lost begins to rise like the inland tides and you suddenly remember the Wizard of Oz. Like Dorothy clicking your magic red heels together you begin to chant, “There’s no place like home. No place like home. No place like home.”
They say the mineral deposits beneath our Keweenaw earth will confuse even a compass at times. Your trusty reliable compass might suddenly go wacky, refusing to point to True North. What can you depend on when the compass fails you? Or, worse yet, when you’ve stupidly left the compass at home pointing to True North in the cluttered desk drawer?
You gauge the sun (if you’re lucky and the sun is out) or the slant of the ravines. All of our ravines near the house run down to the bay, so you’re pretty safe if you remember this. You listen for far-away cars. This can help identify the location of the roads. This helps when there is ocassional traffic. Doesn’t help much when one car crests the hill every half hour. You become alert; you look for signs. You try to remember the landscape. You remember that you know how to build a debris hut out of leaves from your Wilderness Survival class. You know somebody might come looking for you if you’re not home to cook dinner.
But, best of all, you can surrender to a Higher Knowing. And let that Higher Knowing guide you out of the woods. Thank goodness we have that!
Just so you know…I haven’t been lost walking in the woods…at least not in the last month or so. But yesterday came another encounter with Being Lost. Sigh. Do we ever get used to it? Do we ever simply laugh and say joyfully, “I’m lost!” Hasn’t happened yet to me. Usually you have to deal with low-level fear, even if it never blossoms to full-fledged panic.
It started because I was looking for photos of stunning leaf colors. Trees turning red and orange and yellow. The color-changing season is upon us. The trees are starting to zing! Just beginning to peak, but I wanted to document the way the woods is starting to shimmer. Especially when the sun shines bright between rain showers.
So the car turned here, and there, and around this corner, and up that way, and down this hill. I thought I knew exactly where I was. Isn’t that always the case? Until suddenly the road petered out into a muddy two-track and it became apparent…I only vaguely knew where the car might be.
Then some niggling thoughts began warning, “It’s been so rainy, what are you doing back here in the woods without four wheel drive? You’re going to drown in a mud puddle! You’re going to be shot by hunters! You’re going to be lost here FOREVER.”
Oh honestly. Here’s what you say to reassure niggling thoughts, “Calm down, you guys. I think we’ve been here before. I think that’s the lake up ahead. We’re somewhere near Pike’s Peak. We thought we were on Ford Farm Road, but we must have turned on Haataja Road. There really aren’t any challenging mud puddles and since when do we worry about hunters?”
So the thoughts calmed down and I didn’t even have to start remembering how to build a survival debris hut.
And ten minutes later, there was hard pavement and familiar houses. I was “found”, yet once again. The magic clicking heels or the Higher Knowledge or the road had wound its way back to comfort, a sense of safety, a Knowing of Where I Was.
But truly, folks, do we ever know where we are? Is it possible to simply relax and know that we’re always lost and we’re always found? Ooops…getting way too philosophical on this outdoor blog! I’ll leave you with a photo I may have already posted on this blog. Can’t remember. But Jessica of Jessica’s Nature Blog asked to see some photos of pebble-faces or shell-faces. This is the only one I have.
We shall call it “The Scream”. How we sometimes feel when we’re Lost.