I had to have been six or seven years old. Our family went camping up north like we always did and my dad decided to take my older sister and I out for a walk in the woods. My mom stayed back with my younger sister who was a baby at the time. I’m sure she thought nothing of it as she waved us off, probably happy to have some peace and quite. Us girls were always non stop. The walk seemed to last forever, but we finally caught on to the fact that we were lost. My dad being a man’s man was never going to admit to it, but when we started questioning him and why we couldn’t head back, he finally had to give it up.
I don’t remember feeling scared and my dad took the opportunity to teach us girls what to do in this situation. This was before cell phones and we didn’t even have a compass with us. I’m sure he thought we would be right back. So he taught us that you listen for the road. If you can hear the hum of cars and trucks, you head in that direction and follow the road until you get somewhere. Or you listen for water and follow the flow until it gets you somewhere.
In between conversations, I remember how quiet it was. The only sound was beneath our feet as the leaves crunched and the stones turned. You could hear the breeze brush through the trees and the smell of pine was overwhelming. It was overcast and had lightly sprinkled throughout the morning and afternoon so that dewy smell was sweet and fresh. I don’t remember how long we walked for and I couldn’t tell you how we finally found our way, but the one thing I do remember is how quiet it was. The kind of quiet that is almost deafening and being in the middle of the wilderness reminds you just how small you really are in the universe.
I often think of that when I find myself yearning to get out. I have a naturally wandering soul and find the greatest inspiration when I put myself in new surroundings and outdoors. To allow myself to discover and just be. Sometimes I crave to go somewhere. Anywhere. I crave to get out of the office, out of the house, out of the daily grind, the mundane, the deadlines, the hassle, the expectations, the judgement, the stress. I have the strongest urges at times to just go – without any direction or plans. Wanderlust is something that I deal with all the time and have since the time I left home my senior year of high school. My creative heart becomes overwhelmed after too much of the everyday and I am constantly fighting my desire to be out in the world.
Being an adult is a constant fight between desire and responsibility and maybe the desire part needs to come first at times. Perhaps being lost is just what the heart needs. Perhaps it’s what we all need. I need to remember that time in the woods when all was quiet and unknown. I need to remember the art of unplugging and disconnecting from everything. To truly take a breath and remember that there is a much bigger picture out there than what I see in the everyday.
And perhaps in the state of being lost is where the everyday should be.
(photo credit unknown)