MoonishI have no sense of direction. Give me a map, and I’ll lose you without fail. Ask me how to get somewhere, and I’ll write you a novel. “To reach my neighborhood, turn left off the Boulevard at the Liberty station, then take all the whoop-dees  until you see my messy yard. You can’t miss it.”

And yet I know, unerringly, where I am in relationship to my mother’s house. Right now, it’s five hundred miles away over my right shoulder. If I go to the kitchen, it’s sort of off my left side,  but angled back to the right. I wouldn’t trust this sense to lead me out of so much as a brushy thicket. But it’s always there.

The one year I participated in Brownies, some woman named Artie gave us a lesson on the compass and set us on a treasure hunt. My buddy had no use for me and added herself to another pair. I took the compass, turned the base around until the arrow pointed in the direction I wanted to go, and headed for home. Fifteen minutes later, Artie found me pacing along a dry creek bed and chewed me out for leaving. She didn’t understand that my buddy ditched me, not the other way around, or that I didn’t like the raisins that were supposed to be our prize. I didn’t understand that just because I’d made the compass arrow point southwest, that didn’t mean I was walking southwest, or why she thought it so important that I go east. And I didn’t even try to explain that I’d chosen that direction because I wanted my own bed, not some tent.

I wonder if this same pull applies to astronauts. Do they feel this connected to their origins? If they passed through space-time into a dimension where the natives could make money rain up from their hands, would they still experience that tiny cord? How far extends Earth’s gravity?



Trifecta is having fun with the urban dictionary this week, so I got all nostalgic and weird. I appear capable of doing funny right up until someone suggests it. Let it rain people.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Home — 25 Comments

  1. I read somewhere that having a sense of direction is simply not in the female DNA.
    I can attest to that. I’m still trying to find my way out of the paper bag…sigh

    • I have friends who have maps in their heads. I am deadly armed with a map. My husband has to be the navigator when GPS fails, because I, while ALWAYS confident of myself, am a complete failure in the “accuracy” department.

      • While I invariably turn the map upside down, hence, leading myself down the fine garden path the wrong way! Well, half a brain is better than none, and the other half works fairly well. I have no female friends who have maps in their heads. You’re lucky. My friends are as bad or worse than I am.

  2. I often brag about my internal compass. problem is that as soon as I’m done bragging I usually find myself lost. yet, I am really good about NOT getting lost… Since I’ve been on a boat (mainly anchored) it’s been nearly impossible to know where what is. I’ll point where I think land is and pop my head up to realize I was so wrong. These stupid things keep spinning around… You’d be so lost. But I would share my cookies with you so you could leave a trail of crumbs (for the fish to eat).

    I often wonder about astronauts and how it would feel to see earth from the orbit.
    Hop over and visit Marie Nicole’s recent post Word TossMy Profile

  3. If I’ve been there once, I can get there again. If I see it on a map, I can figure it out. Throw me in the woods and I am DOOMED.

    My husband is the exact opposite. He gets lost 5 min from home. Middle of a city? Screwed. But toss HIM in the woods and he can find his way no problem.
    Hop over and visit Carrie’s recent post BookRix Writing ContestMy Profile

    • I used to pretend it was a difference between my rural and his urban upbringing. And while it’s true that I DO perform better if allowed to navigate by landmarks, he can still out-map me in my own territory.

  4. All I can say is how thankful I am for the gps on my phone.

    I love how you connected this to your mother’s house, how it’s your center.
    Hop over and visit Andra Watkins’s recent post He Took It OutMy Profile

  5. I enjoyed reading this. The sense of an invisible force pulling you towards your place (wherever that may be) is so true – even for astronauts.

  6. Oooh I like your weird and nostalgic piece. It gave me something to think about. And I like the idea of astronauts being tethered like balloons to the earth.

  7. Haha, love this! I’m the type of person who, once I’ve driven/walked/been someplace, it’s burned into my brain and I can easily find my way again. I’m halfway decent with a map. Put me in the woods, I’m scared and off to find the nearest Holiday Inn. I usually end up arguing with GPS because it sends me off in the opposite direction in which I feel I need to go.

    I was in Brownies, too, but only for the uniform. The moment I got it (and that cute little beanie hat) I was outta there.

  8. I love this piece – I love the pull of home, conveyed so well. I love the crappy prize of raisins. I love the fact that after 10 years, I’m moving home again. And there won’t be raisins when I get there.
    Hop over and visit Kelly Garriott Waite’s recent post RainMy Profile

  9. Ironically, it’s my husband who has an awful sense of direction! I love how this seems like stream-of-consciousness but is actually a structured piece.
    Hop over and visit Bee’s recent post BoysMy Profile

  10. I don’t think it’s a male/female thing. I know some women who are killer navigators and some guys who get lost in their bathrooms. Me, I’m great unless I’ve flown somewhere and do not have a base of orientation. GPS and maps only help to a point. Interesting entry.

  11. oh. Wow. This was so good, I mean everything you write is GOOD but this, even the part about how you can sense what direction your mom tickled me, made me nod, “yes” I said, “Me too, I always know where she is in relation to me”.

    I love the language and the way you pulled this together.

    as for my sense of direction? it’s horrific. When we are in NYC, I count on John to know which way is Uptown, like Carrie, if you get me there once, I can get back (esp if I’m driving) but I too creative to understand maps.
    Hop over and visit Kir’s recent post Fall From Grace (Trifextra)My Profile

  12. I LOVE this. Because it’s true. We are connected in so many ways to our origins. Without realizing it, I purchased a home that is a lot like the house I grew up in and sometimes, when I walk up the stairs at night, for an instant, I think I’m walking up my mothers.
    Hop over and visit ilene’s recent post The In-BetweenMy Profile

  13. I love the nostalgic tone to this piece. I never get lost because I never consider myself lost. I just figure I’ll eventually get where I’m supposed to be. I’m also always late. Those two are likely related.

  14. Give me a map and I can find jut about anything. Even on my GPS I turn off the ‘voice’ to keep its distraction muted. I can tell you with a good deal of accuracy, which way South is, but ask me to point in the direction of my mother’s and I’d be stumped. I like your sense better.
    Hop over and visit Tara R.’s recent post Small bouts of braveryMy Profile

  15. I love all of this. Rambly and humorous and true.

    Me? I love maps and directions, and I have had Google maps in my head far longer than there have been GPSs in our cars and phones, and I am quite sure of the pull of certain gravities. Quite sure, indeed.
    Hop over and visit Cameron’s recent post 35 Arlington ParadeMy Profile