Lost, now Found

shelter

A shelter in the woods near our house on Vancouver Island

I got lost in the woods.

On my way to and from work I trek through the woods to catch my bus.

The shortcut offers a view of the cedars and firs, and a variety of mushrooms I’ve rarely seen: brown, purple, black and a deathly white.

I jumped off the bus early to wander through the forest and lost my way.

Problem is, I plugged into a new audiobook on the bus-ride, and was still listening as I wandered home.

The award-winning Lincoln in the Bardo introduces readers to a crew of ghosts caught in the liminal space between heaven and hell: the bardo (a Tibetan term).

The chapter I was listening to follows the ghost of Lincoln’s 11-year-old son, the beloved Willie, as he enters the bardo.

Willie died in 1862 of typhoid fever: three years before his father’s death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.

While I was entranced by the story I got caught in my own purgatory.

The path disappeared.

Ahead I found a hand-hewn wooden shelter built from tree limbs and held together by twine.

Candy-wrappers circled the shelter.

I put away my earphones and climbed up a hill for a better view, then retraced my steps.

I was walking in circles.

A light rain began as the sun lowered, and I reached for my mobile phone to call my husband and ask for directions.

I could hear his voice only slightly and hung up, angry, and then realized that the earphones were still plugged in, which reduced the sound.

Earphones unplugged, I could hear clearly.

He asked me to set-up the phone so he could track my movements, and soon found me in the woods: close to where I had begun my trek.

Irony struck when I considered how a electronic device prevented my safe sojourn home, yet allowed my husband to find me.

I never felt frightened or endangered.

But I appreciate the reminder to avoid multi-tasking: something that I urge my students to do.

I’m taking my own advice to heart.

###

15 November 2019

Vancouver Island

Photo by the author

#nanaimo

#lincolninthebardo

#nativescience

#indigenouswaysofknowing

#twoeyedseeing

#littletheories

#nativewriter

#nativepress

#kiyuska

#osage

#wahshashe

#whatstrending

#thebuddhaway

#Nativeamericanheritagemonth

About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. She is enrolled with the Osage tribe.
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2 Responses to Lost, now Found

  1. Glad you found your husband and a way home! This story is such a great metaphor! Organizing the house, and our lives, seems like the bardo and going around in circles.

    Like

  2. I agree completely: Thanks!

    Like

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