Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Jersey City is an easy place to get lost. At least Jersey City is an easy place for me to get lost. I generally have the same destination from trip to trip. The route to that destination either changes or my ability to follow directions changes. Either way I frequently get lost in Jersey City. One possible explanation for that on going difficulty emerged yesterday when I discovered that in a very close area there are two intersections of Grove and Newark Streets. I wasn't lost, really, I was just at the wrong intersection. Amazing how two streets could intersect twice. Some cities are like that. It seems as though the original city planners conspired against visitors. Take Rock Springs, Texas, for example. The Rock Springs in my childhood was a really small town. To me, though, it was huge. I walked out of some store or other and became completely disoriented. It took me a forever of wandering and asking and weeping before I found the home of my Great Aunt Vera. She explained to me the importance of landmarks. "Always find something that stands out," she said. "The tallest mountain or building or a water tower or something interesting. The important thing is to always know where you are in relationship to your landmark."
Jersey City has never gotten the best of me. I always wander around until I stumble into my destination.
Lately, though, I've been thinking a lot about my Great Aunt Vera's advice and the value of landmarks.
They not only help us find our way. They help us to remember who we are.
I'm going to be thinking a lot about my soul's landmarks and about the wisdom of a Texas pioneer who throughout her life never lost track of who she was.

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