21.May – hours after dark
There is a story about a woman who was traveling
or so it is assumed
and one night as she lay quietly in the darkness
waiting for sleep to claim her
she realized with a fright
that she could not locate herself in place.
Starting from the unsolved mystery of
her heart groped outward searching
for a sense of the landscape around her
a town or mountain range
– even the state eluded her.
in the darkness she lay
– lost in the vastness of Anywhere.
She knew that she traveled with two horses
she knew the ponies’ names and shapes and quirks
she knew which one she rode and which she packed
she had lost none of her skills
intelligence and memory intact
she could not mentally turn the lights on
and see where on the planet she was.
She was alone among strangers.
In the morning she was expected to travel on.
That was the plan
and so that’s what she did
saddling up her ponies
tying the familiar packs onto the dun
– nothing changed in the routine.
She led the horses out to the road
took out her knife
balanced it on a flat rock
gave it a spin
glanced in the direction of her future
retrieved her knife
mounted her pinto
and rode out into the world.
She did this every morning
and her life went on much as before
day following day
meeting people and having adventures
finding food and a place to sleep.
The story says she never did find her home.
(sometimes this story is called “The Woman Who Lost the Notion of Home”)