the kind of map you would use

B & I are drinking wine in the afternoon when part of the sky goes dark. It’s a summer squall. Eddies of wind bully the street trees around. A single feather floats into view, makes its way across the garden & out over the wall, its weird calm transit defining a layer of privileged air at about twice the height of a person. “We don’t give in to age now the way we used to,” says B. “Age has to find its resolution in new ways.” It’s her favourite topic at the moment. “I don’t know anyone, for instance–not anyone who really accepts and understands what age means to them–who hasn’t experienced the urge to act out the coming journey.” The windows blur with rain behind her, rattle a little in their frames. It makes her excited for a moment. “Some kind of walkabout! You feel relief as soon as you get the idea. Here’s a way of recognising & accepting–& at the same time a way of being thrown by–that urge to leave everything behind.” I consider these rationalisations with as much dignity as I can, then pour her another half glass of wine & wonder what will happen to the feather. “Seriously,” she says. “What kind of a map would you use?” Then she laughs & says: “You don’t have to answer that.”

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “the kind of map you would use

  1. whiteonesugar

    There are no maps for these territories.

  2. Surely there’s a GPS co-ordinate?

  3. Mostly marked ‘Unknown Territory’ and ‘Here Be Dragons’. But there’d be a river, and the Ordinance Survey symbol for a ferry (Closed Sunday).

  4. Pingback: Thinking out loud in paragraphs « Snarkmarket

  5. DH

    I read this today in Chris Hedge’s latest article:

    David Lloyd George, who was the British prime minister during the Passchendaele campaign, wrote in his memoirs: “[Before the battle of Passchendaele] the Tanks Corps Staff prepared maps to show how a bombardment which obliterated the drainage would inevitably lead to a series of pools, and they located the exact spots where the waters would gather. The only reply was a peremptory order that they were to ‘Send no more of these ridiculous maps.’ Maps must conform to plans and not plans to maps. Facts that interfered with plans were impertinencies.”

    Ghosts indeed.