This blog post by Elan Mudrow made me look at something in a new way. With all the technology, we are perhaps approaching a time when it will be impossible to get lost. I say “perhaps” because my faith is not in electronics. I know too many people who have horror stories to tell after relying on GPS. I’ve been in the car with some of them when things went haywire and no amount of, “But I’ve been there before and this isn’t where it is!” could convince them that GPS was steering us in the wrong direction. At some point, one must stop and say, “This doesn’t feel right. I need to turn back.”
This blog post prompted me to think about the joys of taking a wrong turn and then figuring out all by myself where I went wrong. Sometimes taking a wrong turn will lead you to a waterfall you didn’t know existed. Sometimes a wrong turn will give you a glimpse of wildlife. Sometimes a wrong turn will lead you to a story idea for a short story or a novel.
I love maps and globes. I always have. Discovering that geography was something to be studied in the fourth grade opened up a whole new world (literally!) to me. Will today’s children even know what a map is? Will they be able to read it if they ever see one? If they take a wrong turn, will they be able to find their way?
With the literal interpretation out of the way, let’s think of it in the metaphorical sense. What things in life serve as signposts for you? You weren’t born with an owner’s manual or a map to your life’s journey, but wasn’t that what made your life unique and challenging? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t taken some wrong turns in life. Sometimes it’s a good choice to “take the road less traveled.” Sometimes you find yourself going down the wrong path in life, and it’s time to stop and say, “This doesn’t feel right. I need to turn back.”
Someday I might have a car with GPS, but you can be sure I’ll never leave home without a map. It’s wise to always have a back up plan.
Our roads, once trails of patted dirt
Unsure of the shape they would make
Indented upon the denseness of dust
Plains, forest, mountains, and brush
Containing rough unclear pathways
Forks of misdirection, choices full of haze
Where wisdom’s mark once picked
The path, guided by rounded stars
Now, we have paved our roads
Wandering upon them as they glow
Without fear of losing our way
In the gut of night and skin of day
Thick oiled-down gravel compacted
Lit by strings of light channeled
Never ending stripes of white
As if they have bone and marrow
We are filled with directions to
The solidifying shape of upcoming curves
We are forever found