My internal compass is all out of whack. As a Midwestern farm girl, I’m used to having a clear sense of north, south, east and west. If the sun is shining in Iowa, I know directions and give directions as farm people do – ‘Head due south and take the second road going east.’ I am my father’s daughter when it comes to believing that things should be ‘square with the world.’
So Italy presents a challenge for me. The Tuscan hills ensure that roads are a higgledy-piggledy tangle of twists and turns. Houses and towns are plotted at every conceivable angle. Roads have been laid out over the past millennia along the path of least resistance, probably cow paths.
Why does this matter? Because I am used to being able to find my way. And I like the comfort of knowing where I am. I do not like to be lost.
As we headed out to walk this morning, Mary asked, ‘Right or left?’ I wanted to say east or west, but could not. I struggled to finally say southeast. After making two turns, I was convinced we were going south. Mary knew we were going north. She graciously did not say I was an idiot.
She pointed out that you are only ‘lost’ if you have somewhere you are supposed to be. Either of us could find our way back to the house, and we had no appointments to meet, therefore we were not lost even if I did not know in which direction we were going.
Even at ‘home,’ I lose my bearings. Taken in isolation, our house and garden appear to be a logical rectangle. When we brought a table out to the yard, we placed it squarely under the tree, the long edges of the table parallel to the hedgerows bordering the garden. But when I looked up at the sky, something felt off.
This afternoon as I sat at this table and worked on my novel, I tried again to get my bearings. It has taken me the better part of a week of disorientation to realize the table, placed as we had it, was not ‘square with the world.’ I got up and moved it.
Now the sun is setting over my right shoulder – in the west – just where it’s supposed to be. And I am looking straight south, toward the Mediterranean Sea. I am happy to be square with the world once again.
It appears Blogger has had a little trouble getting square with the world today. Hopefully all will be better with them again, soon, too. Compass image courtesy of FreeFoto.com