With the band of weirdos that boarded the bus this morning and a head cold that is threatening to franchise, you'd think I'd have more to say than this re-post from almost a full year ago, wouldn't you?
Yeah. Me, too.
Every now and then, I don’t know where I am.
This is to be expected.
I was prepped for it as a child, where directions were given by the locals more often than not by referencing people and events from well before our arrival.
“Carlson’s farm? Sure! First you go north, just past the old Schmidt place, over there by where the feed mill used to be. You’re going to want to head east on the second possible right – not the first! The first right will take you to Carlson’s milk barn, and you don’t want that. Go past the first right, go east on the second right, then go until you hit the dirt road. It’ll be easy to spot, it’s just before the oak that was hit by lightning, the one split down the middle. If you go past the split oak, you’ve gone too far. Go until you see the Raabe’s mailbox – it’s shaped like a leaping trout – then go another mile or so and you should find it all right. You’ll know you’re there when a pack of dogs runs alongside the car from the mailbox to the front door. You’ll want to honk your horn and let Arne come and get you. Them dogs are a bit friendly.”
Excellent directions! We’ll pack a lunch.
And so I became accustomed to being lost. We moved yearly (“It’s harder to hit a moving target!” chortled my father); and while the trailer we moved from park to park remained the same, the view outside the front door was always different.
“You’re not lost!” my dad would say. “You’re being challenged. Are ya goin’ to rise to the challenge, Miss Pearl?"
But you don’t have to move to another town to be personally challenged.
You could simply follow the orange construction signs.
Minnesota is infamous for the time and money it puts into road construction. With the weather’s freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw pattern, the roads are capable of going Mesozoic at any time; and every year, whole cars disappear down potholes only to reappear, if the rumors are true, in China.
Everybody knows that those really deep holes go straight to China.
With road construction comes road detours. Detours that lead up and around, sometimes through. Detours for roads that used to go over there but now have plans to go over there.
One minute you’re driving from Point A to Point B and the next minute, via a large orange sign, someone’s tossed in Point C.
I don’t remember this, do you? Do you remember this road looking like this? Where am I? There’s an intersection that looks just like this in central Wisconsin. I couldn’t be in Wisconsin, could I?
No, you couldn’t, you silly person.
All over the world, people are frowning through their windshields, wondering if they’ve taken a wrong turn, perhaps having ended up in central Wisconsin. We’re out there, aren’t we, thinking we’re heading in one direction, sure of our destination, only to sometimes find ourselves surrounded by orange construction cones and unfamiliar territory.
Too often we ask ourselves if we are lost, but perhaps the real question is whether the markers we were told to watch for are still relevant to our search.
Because most of the time, you know, we’re not really lost.
We’re just being personally challenged.