This is how we find our way in a world that feels like constant chaos. Nature as our compass, books as our map.
Hundreds of years ago, when sailors were blown off course, they would chart their way back to their destination, by looking to the stars (especially when there were no other landmarks).
They measured the currents, tested the wind. With the sky, air and sea as their guide, they set sail to lands unknown.
When we feel stable, it’s because we know where we stand, where we are located in relation to the rest of the world. It is then that a map is most useful.
Books are messages in bottles, sent from people long ago and/or far away, showing us the way. That they, too, have been lost in the wilderness and found their way. They, too have been overrun by enemies outside and in, and fought their way back from the brink.
We look to books to know that we are not alone, that someone just like us (perhaps a bit wiser) has gone before, has made a path for us to follow. Books teach us how to do things, impossible things, everything from how to build a house to how to build a life. We open a book and escape to another world and come back changed.
We return to our everyday lives with more clarity, more compassion for ourselves and others. We are given a treasure trove of ideas and perspectives that otherwise we’d never know.
For a thousand years nature has been our cradle and our grave; our greatest refuge and our greatest enemy. It’s where we have worshiped and hunted and gathered and explored.
Modern life would have us lose that connection but it’s as easy as stepping outside and turning our faces to the sun to regain even a small amount of power that will guide us back to our true selves.
Then we pick up a book and know that anything is possible. That we’re not alone. That a path has been made ready for us.
All we need to do is begin.
Jill Hinton Wolfe,
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