28 Jun 2023

Went for a walk on a sunny day, got lazy, took a ferry back, just as a bank of fog rolled in over the coast.

Sitting on board and enjoyed the breeze and the coolness of it, after a few mile hike and lots of sun, it was a pleasant change.

Never been in a bank of fog on the ocean before.

And then suddenly: LOST.

Every direction looked like every other direction. Couldn’t figure out which way led to the land, and which to deeper waters. It took only a few seconds to completely lose all orientation – and I’m someone with an uncanny sense of finding my way and navigating.

Now, in an instant, I could be right next to the land, or far from it. The coastline I know – well – could be in front of me, behind me, to my left, to my right, or in any diagonal direction all around. In a few seconds, I had no idea where I was.

Relying on my senses, the evidence assuring me through my perceptions, my prior knowledge, experience – we would have been lost at sea. Might have drifted all the way to vast open empty waters with no idea where we were, once the fog cleared.

Lesson being you can not always trust what you naturally do, and usually can reliably, trust.

Sometimes circumstances throw surprises at the world, and you happen to be in it when it does.

Good thing I wasn’t in a kayak or a rowboat. Good thing for GPS, and satnav, and buoys…

The only time I had a similar experience I was in Namibia. There was a road – with ocean on one side and desert on the other. I climbed the first dune, then the second, and for a brief moment my heart raced and I could feel panic set in because two dunes away from the world I knew and suddenly I couldn’t orient myself.

That’s the usefulness of crumbs, you see.

Principles only work when stuck to; tools function when they are in place; orientation systems – left in place deliberately and intentionally – do the heavy lifting when the lights go out, for whatever reason. Neither the fog nor the desert are scary places if you’ve left beacons in place to keep you safe.

Put your crumbs in place as you go.

You never know when the silly things save you…