Well, I’ve done it again. Regrettably, I’ve set another record for the longest time between Mapping the Edge posts. We’ve got lots going on here at the glass-enclosed nerve center, including selling our house when it was not even on the market. It had been on the market most of 2012 with no serious offers, and we gave up in November. Apparently, we should give up more often. We are officially homeless in less than few weeks, but more on that (including future plans) as the date approaches.

I’ve been struck by seemingly random observations and questions lately. It’s about all I’ve had time to do recently. It keeps me juuuust on this side of the sanity boundary. I thought I’d share them with you, my fellow Mappers of Edges…

Observation #1:

I was driving in Amish country recently, and in the distance I noticed an Amish man kneeling by the side of the road, seemingly talking on a cell phone. I’ve seen them use pay phones but never a cell. I slowed to get a better view of the strange event, only to notice that the young man in a straw hat and suspenders was not talking on a cell at all. He was picking his nose – something far less stressful and arguably more productive.

Observation #2:

When I was a kid, I remember a Crayon color called Flesh. I don’t think they have that color anymore. Or they may still offer the color, but I’m sure it’s called peach or something similar. It was meant to be representative of white flesh, although, even as a kid, I remember being disappointed in the color. It was not the color of the flesh of anyone I knew. But the smell of any crayon… That always smelled like flesh to me.

Observation #3:

I had a dream about something that happened to me as a kid that I’m not sure I would have remembered otherwise. The dream brought back the same feeling I experienced that afternoon as a kid. We had just moved to a new town , and it was the first time I had taken the bus to our new home. I didn’t recognize any stops along the way, so I had no idea when my stop was coming up. My plan was to get off at the first stop where things looked familiar. If I had to walk a while, that was part of the adventure of doing something new.

Well nothing familiar ever came into view, and before I knew it, I was the last kid on the school bus. The last stop was apparently a community stop, and all the remaining kids got off and left me there alone with the driver. The driver, not used to having a new kid onboard, simply closed the door and backed the bus up to a vacant lot, turned it off and left.

I’d never been left on a bus before, and I thought how cool it would be to still be in the seat the next morning when the bus driver came to start up the bus. Then I began to panic, not knowing if the driver had a way to lock that cool magical lever that operated the swinging doors. I stood up to see if I recognized any of my surroundings. The driver must have seen my head bobbing up, because she came back on the bus and asked what I was doing on her bus. I said I lived around here somewhere, but just didn’t know exactly where.

“Are you Patty Vinson’s boy,” she asked. This was the plague of being raised in a small town. Even a stranger knew who I was. I said yes, and she started up the bus and took me home. On the drive, I wondered what the bus driver’s kitchen smelled like, and if she had pets.

Observation #4:
One day after high school, I decided to not get on the same bus at the same time and go to the same home I’d gone to since I started school. Instead, I climbed the hill behind the school to the railroad tracks, and began walking the rails in the general direction of home, about 5 miles away.

My parents and grand parents would be worried when the bus stopped and all the regulars got off but me. They would all walk across the parking lot and open the heavy glass door to my family’s restaurant, and none of them would know where I was or why I hadn’t been on the bus.

After I eventually arrived home late that night without contacting them, they would wonder when the urge would hit me to do that again. My grand father had wisdom. He had a look that told me that he was concerned beyond that one instance of stupidity on my part. He would wonder when, as an adult, I would again be irresponsible and inconsiderate to people who loved me.

Once when he was in the hospital for a life-threatening illness, my grandfather appeared to me for the first time as a flawed super hero. I was in my lat 20s or early 30s at the time. Still I walked. I walked over 10 miles that day, as fast as a grown man could in the opposite direction of the hospital where he lay in pain. Then I walked all the way back again, as fast as I had walked away. Can an adult grow up in an afternoon?

Observation #5:

The more I live, the more I’m struck by the following observation by Elie Wiesel,  author of Night (1958), about his experiences in Germany’s WW II concentration camps. Wiesel said, “There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning, and a book of two hundred that is a result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don’t see them.”


Coming soon… a new home for Mapping the Edge. A new Mapping the Edge initiative called Edging the Map (thanks to Alane for the idea!). A new studio. New workshops and seminars. And a new start where I can do exactly the same thing!