Emily Dickenson's poem has stuck with me since childhood. "I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea, yet know I now what heather is and what a wave must be. I never talked with God, nor visited in heaven, yet sure am I of the spot as if a chart were given." At least, that 's the way I remember it.
My dad loved maps. After he passed on, I found hundreds of maps and charts stuffed in drawers. He'd studied electrical engineering at VPI (as it was known way back when), but he once said he would have loved to be a geographer. He taught me to read maps when I was a kid, a handy tool to have when you're lost. But I never feel lost when I have a map or chart, or even a good compass.
The GPS in the car is insane, and seems determined to make me turn left into concrete barriers or drive through gang-laden neighborhoods on a three hour detour to Sears. I don't trust it for one second. Google maps on the smart phone is better, but who can hear the tiny voice whispering turns after you've already passed them?
I like to navigate by gut instinct, landmarks, and the compass if no maps are handy. Sometimes, if I'm heading southwest, I know I'll get home eventually. Like Emily Dickenson, I don't have to see some things to just know they're there.
Like my family's love. My love for them. No maps needed.
But I do like a good atlas.