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Monday, August 23, 2010

Journey Without Maps

Yesterday morning, I was taxiing from the gate out to the runway in Vancouver, British Columbia. For those of you who have been to Vancouver, it will come as no surprise that this is one of the world's greatest cities. Beautiful. Cosmopolitan. Amazing waterways and mountains surround it and the cool Pacific air breezes through. You can definitely spend a fair amount of time here and enjoy every minute of it. And occasionally I find myself lost in thought. About life, my connection to it, the earth, grasses, mountains, water. And trees. Trees are one of my most favorite things attached to this earth. I was looking out of my jumpseat porthole as we moved along the taxi way yesterday early morning and looking at the tall green grasses. And wondering what it would be like to live in those grasses. Be in them. Lie down in them. I wonder what it would be like to be naked and lie down in them...especially if they were wet. To feel the dirt of the Canadian earth on my back while the wet strands of green grass taunted my face and legs. And just to stare up at the sky. I considered what a vastly different experience it would be to be outside of the airplane looking at us move along the concrete taxi way versus being inside looking out.

And you wouldn't believe what happened shortly afterwards -- I was glancing through my copy of Whole Living magazine and ran across an article by Susanna Sonnenberg titled Journey Without Maps. In spite of the fact that I'm very much a map lover and can't hardly walk by one without stopping to ponder and gaze, I am also a big fan of being a free spirit and navigating throughout life without a map sometimes. I learn a lot that way. Sonnenberg relates the story of moving from New York City to Montana and all that goes along with that.

But not everyone has that built-in compass that permits them to traverse the ways of this world without an internal map. They just plain old don't know how. I am thankful that I am relatively stable, educated, have an innate perception of common sense, and can typically get from Point A to Point B in life without much trouble. Many cannot. I was taught. Some were not. I was shown the way. Not everyone was. And I'm thankful that I have the desire to sit in a Starbucks with a fancy coffee on a busy urban street just as much as I have the want to lie naked in a field of wet grass. Both appeal to me. Both teach different lessons. Both are different journeys with entirely different maps.

13 comments:

Rob Inukshuk said...

I love this post. So very true. I too am thankful for being able to navigate my way through this life without too much trouble and thanks to my parents for some good lessons and guidance!

Rick said...

I too love trees.

Lemuel said...

One thought struck me in particular when you were writing about the difference of being in the plan looking at the grass vs being in the grass looking at the plane: The difference in perspective between being in a given moment and being an observer of those in the moment. In my own life I have had the experiences of seeing a landscape or of watching people doing certain things. I think, "wow! wouldn't it be great to be there or to be doing that!" Then I've had the opportunity actually to be "there" or to do "that" and the experience has been quite different than what I expected.

Cincinnati NAMjA said...

I am all about traveling sans map...just aslong as I know the general direction. I am planning a trip to BC and will do sthe same when I get there.

Iron Fist said...

Why does it not surprise me that you want to be outside naked? ;)

Greg said...

Good post. I was raised with the knowledge of how to do some things; I learned many more things along the way; I will continue to learn things. I think to enjoy life, you need to be able to acknowledge when you don't know something and to be able to accept help or guidance when needed.

LSL said...

I love this post, too, and often get lost in thought about all of the beauty in life. I don't have a great internal compass (read: TERRIBLE sense of direction) but it doesn't bother me in the least! I've explored and gotten lost all over in the most beautiful countries on earth!

RAD said...

good post...good read...your a good egg.. and more! Love ya man!

CJ/Rick said...

The thought of laying around in wet grass makes my bottom itch. Much the same as stretching out on a sandy beach. But I do enjoy a good skinny dip. And I go mapless too on occassion. In another time I could have been a cartographer? At least. I'd like to thinnk so.

BosGuy said...

Missing you...

Palm Springs Savant said...

I enjoyed reading this post. I actually love Vancouver, it is a wonderful city. Now as for me, I get squeamish laying on grass...things like ants drive me insane.

Ur-spo said...

I love Vancouver too.

I have a good internal compass, so I am 'map master' when we go on trips and holidays.

However, life is not a map - you said this so well.
being away, I've missed your posts.

Trickle Down BS said...

You have a talent to hook me on the first few sentences and read through your entire post...good one bud.
saludos,
raulito