I’d Be Lost Without You

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All my life I have had fascination with maps and cartography (the mapmaker’s art). I have a geography degree that hasn’t earned me a cent, but I don’t care.

As a child, I would pore over atlases and maps with their linear representations of different parts of the world – seas, mountains, rivers ,deserts, towns and cities.

I would get lost in those pages and charts, but a good lost, y’know ?

I took this photo of an old map on my recent travels in Scotland. It depicts Fife and its coastline. Heights in feet, depths in fathoms, as it was, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Look closer.

It’s really a guide to the lost and endangered, or maybe a series of warnings to prevent yourself getting in those predicaments in the first place.

Beacons, lights, storm signals and lifeboats(!) and their locations.

Because (and I say this from harsh experience),when you are truly lost (the bad lost), you need external direction and you must heed the signals that you receive from around you.

You might have a moral compass, but you ,alone, cannot be your own map…



Is It True?


This large ceramic compass sits in the foyer of a building  I work in.

I love compasses and their myriad designs. I also love the way they tell the truth.

Without the compass I would only be guessing where, say ,north was outside the building. If I stepped outside, my sense of direction would be coloured by the street angle or the positioning of a building, and after dusk the sun’s absence would make matters way worse. I might have a good idea where north is but I can never be entirely accurate.

In life we have feelings that come to us and hunches we rely on. Sometimes real or right,other times false.

The  first question I try to pose to myself in those moments is like taking a compass bearing: “Is it true?”.

If not,then I may move on from that thing, or maybe choose to sit with the unknown for awhile.

If yes,then I can ask myself the subsidiary  questions: What? Where? When? What? How? and Why? And then take action, based on reality.

Is it true? Is it actually true?