There’s the old adage that those who wander are not always lost, and while I certainly appreciate that sentiment, I’d push it a bit farther. I think we often like to get ourselves lost, so that we can then find ourselves again. It renews a sense of wonder and newness with all that is familiar. It’s also a great adrenaline rush.
I’ve only gotten really lost once, in the backcountry, on a long ride. The kind of lost where you’re alone and you look around and say to yourself, I can probably sleep under that tree, and I think I can keep myself relatively warm and not freeze to death out here in nowheresville. Lost enough that you imagine a daring helicopter rescue after a week out on your own, or a guy on a four-wheel motorbike chiding you for not having a compass or a lick of common sense as he straps you, barely conscious, onto a gurney. (This was two years ago, in the Arapaho National Forest, where I wandered away from the Gilsonite-to-Wolverine Trail. I eventually found a super-thin ribbon of trail and rode my way out, after scaring myself witless.)
Yesterday, on Centennial Cone–which is a fantastic trail, by the way–I didn’t get lost but was sure that I was lost. Not that I went off trail or anything; I just got confused and thought I’d continued on the main loop and missed a junction somehow. Sections began to look familiar and I had to keep fighting the urge to turn around and go back (that would have made for a very long day in the saddle.)
Funny, how you get tired and cranky and you lose your bearings and then you begin to doubt yourself, when really you’re okay and on the right track.
Which makes me think of a Joseph Campbell saying, something like The path you’re on is the path you’re supposed to be on.
In other words, the life you’re leading is the one you’re supposed to be leading, bad or good. The experience is yours and yours alone, and you should see it as a gift, even if it causes great pain, strife, or sadness. These moments are making you into the person you are supposed to be–which is the person you are.
Amen to that.
PS Here’s a pic of some sort of ancient farm implement out on yesterday’s ride.