Wednesday, October 10, 2012

get lost.

here's a thing you maybe hadn't considered about travel: it isn't all that important to know where you are. neither is it that important to know where you're going.

the important thing is to have the skills to get yourself back to a place where you'll know where you are and in the meantime, you will have had an adventure.

i am not advocating heading off willy-nilly into the wilderness. you should start small. in an urban setting, go down a few streets that you don;t know where they go, just to see. don't stray too far. then get yourself back to either where you left known territory or some landmark you know.


in the woods, also start small. of off the trail a little way, and then get yourself back to the trail or some other destination with which you are familiar.

in both settings, make sure you have proper equipment for the setting in case it takes you a while to get back.  be aware of the position of the sun with relation to your direction of travel and time of day. notice landmarks. are you between the highway and the park? between the forest road and the lake? those will be handy bits of information to have later on.

now go on, scoot. out with you. go out and get lost.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

We love to do this!
Great fun and the new things you see, do and people you meet. It's all good.

liz said...

here, have this slightly pompous essay i wrote some years ago!

On getting lost

On the way to a new place I am sublimely happy. I've never been there and I'm open. It can't disappoint because I don't know what to expect. Getting lost on the way is the best part. All the winding streets want to be followed and I am sure there are small discoveries that will be useful later. A park, a cafe, an unusual place, a hiding place for treasure. Knowledge of these lost roads will turn out to matter. I store away the places I get to when lost, like a squirrel burying acorns. We might forget where they are but if they are scattered thickly enough, forgetting won't matter, because there will always be something to find.

In the poem I enjoy making mistakes. My own bad handwriting and misreading often calls up a better word. I get echos and unexpectedly winding paths and gaps to be jumped by new leaps or new bridges. What in the world was I thinking? Retracing the path is difficult and I get lost again. A detective and a spy and a bold explorer who is not out to conquer or claim territory. If my thinking is wooly and the map uncertain, the roads are twistier;I look back and history changes. If the fog sets in, anyone who goes outside to walk across the street will end up in a different universe.

Sometimes getting lost with other people I see their agitation and uncertainty. By god, they want a map, and directions. Do you really know where we're going? my hapless, unnerved passenger asks. "Of course,"I reply, grinning insanely. "You don't actually know, do you? " they quaver. "We'll get there eventually, no rush. " Any attempt I make to comfort or placate my passenger, or the reader of my poems, is insincere. Meander with me or don't get in the car, buddy.

Poets: I recommend that you get lost for a good long time. All the focus on the destination, on the point, the point on the map, the precise route that is well defined, is getting in the way of the poem. And when you get to the end will you look back and report, "I drove down this street, and then turned left at the light, and went 0. 3 miles to the house with the blue door" ? Or will you have a more complex and labyrinthine story to tell? Is your poem a path, or a world?


Related Posts with Thumbnails