The other evening whilst I was sitting quietly in a circle with friends (see entry for 19th September), into my head popped the image of a labyrinth. The strange thing is, it was imprinted onto the right side of my forehead and this seemed to be important for some reason. With it came a long line of black chevrons closely spaced together. The chevrons were the ones you get on the road to indicate a bend ahead and point in the direction you need to go, although these ones were not pointing in any particular direction. It seemed perfectly logical to marry the chevrons with the image of a labyrinth which after all, is all to do with going round in circles.
The next day in my studio, I open the page in the book I am currently working on (about my St. Michael’s Way Walk), which is all about getting lost. Getting lost is only a problem and a cause for anxiety when there are constraints on time, such as reaching your destination within a calculated time-span or arranging to meet someone at a specified time and not being able to make it. Then it struck me that getting lost is very much like being in a labyrinth. And I am reminded of a quote by the Mexican writer, Octavio Paz, in his book of essays, ‘The Labyrinth of Solitude‘ in which he delves into the minds of his countrymen, describing them as ‘hidden behind masks of solitude’:
“Man is nostalgia and (in) a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.”
And the more I think about it the more I realise that getting lost is in fact getting found! It is only in that solitude that I am able to find my true voice. Far from being fearful of finding my way back to the path, I am beginning, more and more to relish the peace that being alone brings: a space in which I can commune with my creative urges. Perhaps we should learn to cherish those moments of getting lost more: how else might we stumble upon the unexpected, discover new directions or see a familiar thing from a different angle? Often, getting lost, forces us to ask for help, something a lot of us are not very good at doing.
Although this post doesn’t strictly speaking, fit into a conventional ‘photo challenge’ I felt it was appropriate. For other ideas on this weeks Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns, see here.
P.S. 23rd September. Walking the dogs today I notice that someone has been out flaying the edges of the paths (as they are wont to do). In the debris lying on the ground, I rescued a few sprigs of purple heather (Cornish Heath) which I decided to take home and put in a little pot vase. Being mildly aware that ‘someone’ has prompted me to do this (I often get this feeling), when I got home I went on-line to find out what the flower meaning for heather is, only to discover that it is ‘Solitude’. What a lovely poetic endorsement. Thank you!