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April 26, 2016 » 5:55 pm

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Excerpts from Jose A. Alcantara’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost, via Mark Leach:

If you have a compass, smash it.
Nothing can point you to true anything, let alone true north.
Besides ā€” and never forget this ā€” you are trying to get lost.
You may be gone for a long time
so be sure not to pack any food or water.
It is only the hungry who feed, only the thirsty who are quenched.

Before you leave, be sure to write a note
telling everyone exactly where you will not be.
The last thing you need is someone coming to your rescue.

Now, find the best map possible
and tear it up. You will be traveling on a scale
that no one has ever drawn.

Do not leave a string of crumbs behind you.
This would only attract predators.
On second thought, go ahead.

Write postcards telling everyone of your adventures.
Be sure to lie, like a fox leaving false tracks.
Someday they will thank you.

You will not know when you have arrived.
But if you think you have, you haven’t.
If you think haven’t, you probably have.

If you come to a fork in the road
stab yourself in the foot with it. You will
reach your destination much faster if you are limping.

Better yet, use it to pluck out your eyes.
There are many signposts along the way.
Maybe now you will learn to see.

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2 Responses to “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”

  1. This is wonderful Eugene, thanks for sharing.

    Though in some ways it speaks for itself, it got me wondering about the reasons you decided to post this. My immediate association was with the fantastic book I hope you’ve read by SF writer Rebecca Solnit by the same name.

    Here is Maria Popova’s review and reflections on BrainPickings.org:

    https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/08/04/field-guide-to-getting-lost-rebecca-solnit/

  2. Not to mention a favorite Wendell Berry poem “The Real Work” I like to use to open thinking to the possibilities that arise when we are lost:

    When we no longer know what to do,
    We have come to our real work.
    When we no longer know which way to go,
    We have come to our real journey.
    The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
    The impeded stream is the one that sings.

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