Selling Out to Google Maps

I may be blind but I can still feel the sun’s warmth on my face and if it’s noon, I know I’m pointed south. On a recent family trip, I felt the sun’s noon warmth and knew we were driving south. but, Napa was north. We were headed in the wrong direction. What had happened?

The driver had entered the desired destination into Google Maps on his smart phone. However, deep into conversation with his front seat companion, he’d missed a turn. We were now not only headed in the wrong direction, we were about to cross a toll bridge.

Yes, the female Google Maps voice did eventually sort things out. We turned around, paid the toll to recross the bridge, and got headed north. but how had the driver made such an obvious mistake in direction? I pondered this question as we drove on in search of amiable wineries and fine wines. I noted several other google Map miscues, the computer guide was far from perfect. We were doing our third circle of the same block before the driver realized he’d missed another turn.

What happens when we sell our souls to Google Maps?

In this case, the driver had surrendered all connection with the reality outside his vehicle. He had no idea which way was south and that south was the wrong direction. He had no vision of the larger world he was operating in, trusting that a voice from a computer would take care of his directional needs.

True, google Maps did eventually get him to the wineries he was seeking. but at what cost? What did he miss along the way? what sights, what experiences, what happenings were left unnoticed because he was content to live within the isolated bubble of his automobile reality?

I wonder what kind of world it will be when the majority of people around me are content to live in such bubbles. It seems obvious that such lives would be self-centered, caring little for most of what lies outside their isolated existence, things like, weather, sunsets, Nature in all its wonders.

Ouch! Not my kind of world. Not my kind of life. I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of adventures with road maps, topographical maps, nautical charts, maps on napkins, all kinds of real, touchable maps. How boring life would have been without all those maps guiding me to lost places, crazy characters, and unexplored  frontiers.

“No, sonny, Denio Hot Springs ain’t on the map. Buy me a beer and I’ll show you where it is.”

“Damn, I’m thirsty! Do you think the name ‘Sometimes Creek’ means it’s not here in the summertime?”

“I think that vacant gas station we just passed was the town of Desolation. So much for our cold beer break.”

“The vulture sitting on the sign seems to say that things are not so great in Paradise, population 2.”

“Yeah, that big X on Wally’s map meant big rapids. Next time, tell us before we get sucked into a monster like that.”

“I know we’re out of gas, but that spot you thought was a town is a piece of chocolate.”

I dare you to break your bubble, turn off your smart phone, grab a real map, and chase your own adventures.

You might even get lost.

Tio Stib

You might also enjoy: Dead Horse Point, Ridge Runner

 

Let’s Voyage Into The New American House

There are doors
that want to be free
from their hinges to
fly with perfect clouds.

There are windows
that want to be
released from their
frames to run with
the deer through
back country meadows.

There are walls
that want to prowl
with the mountains
through the early
morning dusk.

There are floors
that want to digest
their furniture into
flowers and trees.

There are roofs
that want to travel
gracefully with
the stars through
circles of darkness.

Richard Brautigan, 1968

Ever since this poem by Richard Brautigan, an American counter culture poet of the turbulent 1960’s, floated through my mind, these words have been the image of my ideal American house, and I’ve even had a few homes that nearly matched this poem’s magic.

tio stib, 2016

You might also enjoy: Finding Home, Hotel Hypothermia

Hell’s Canyon

but the map says it’s here!
icicle creek
this is supposed to be icicle creek

I stared
at the cascading tumble of roasting rocks

what made you think icicles could exist in Hell’s Canyon?

but the map says…

maps say a lot of things
doesn’t mean you should trust them

no argument
after nine parched miles
10,000 anguished steps
past three dry gulches
the advertised water had not appeared
although, in fairness to the map
rattlesnake creek had partially lived up to it’s name

even weighted by a fifty pound pack
adrenalin had defied gravity
launching my ten foot leap
over the awakened, angry rattler

guess I should have filled more than one water bottle this morning

you think?
what’s the next creek called?

a drop of sweat splattered on the map

surprise

perfect

tio stib, 2016, from a thirsty memory

You might also enjoy : The Crossing, The Campfire

Ridge Runner

I broke onto a flat plateau
into a world I chanced to know
after hours of hillside sweat
I stopped to breathe a land yet met

beyond in vast infinity
blue mountains rolled in majesty
and from the ridge on which I perched
a path led on
a primal urge

Surrounded in a flower sea
the buzz of life enveloped me
bright colors fed my starving eyes
a soul connect with ancient ties

floating on forever feet
lungs filled deep with earthly sweets
body lost and spirit led
I followed on to find my bed

this a world I’d only dreamed
so many years
so many schemes
until at last a mountain climbed
brought me home
to Nature’s mind

tio stib, 2015

You might also enjoy: The Crossing, Dead Horse Point

Ridge Runner

I broke onto a flat plateau
into a world I chanced to know
after hours of hillside sweat
I stopped to breathe a land yet met

beyond in vast infinity
blue mountains rolled in majesty
and from the ridge on which I perched
a path led on
a primal urge

Surrounded in a flower sea
the buzz of life enveloped me
bright colors fed my starving eyes
a soul connect with ancient ties

floating on forever feet
lungs filled deep with earthly sweets
body lost and spirit led
I followed on to find my bed

this a world I’d only dreamed
so many years
so many schemes
until at last a mountain climbed
brought me home
to Nature’s mind

tio stib, 2015

You might also enjoy: The Crossing, Dead Horse Point

The Campfire

a lone form sits
in front of fire
a sacred glow
on sea of black

as sparks rise
to eternity
I warm my hands
cold nips my back

giant shadows shelter me
dark branches reach for stars
I shiver
then look out again
as time swims into hours

a tiny speck of being I am
no more no less than all
alone
yet somehow one
I know the peace of home

a hint of bright appears beyond
a light begins to grow
moon man crawls up into night
revealing worlds below

in silent silver majesty
on every hill I see
the silhouettes of noble elk
taking midnight tea

the curtain lifts
strange voices shriek
a thousand years unfold
as Nature’s unseen opera shouts
to spirits now and old

with these wild
coyote swoons
I watch Man’s dreams
fly past the moon

Tio Stib, 2015

You might also enjoy: Imagine Water, Dead Horse Point
Tags: Nature, campfire, Tio Stib, blind poet, blind writer, poetry, solitude, traveling, wildness,
wilderness, Oneness, moonrise, wonder, peace, home, tranquility

Tio Stib, 2015

You might also enjoy: Imagine Water, Dead Horse Point