“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I bought an atlas yesterday. It was a spontaneous purchase at the local U-Haul where my husband and I were picking up more packing and moving supplies. Our big move back to the Midwest takes place next week, the end result of our lease being up here and my ongoing job search. It will be good to be back in Chicago, even if only temporarily. We have family to see, my aging mother in law, my brother with cancer, and our daughter, who we will live with. We have restaurants we want to visit and friends to see. It will be good even as it will be difficult. The atlas will help us get there, although that's not really why I bought it. I've made the trip numerous times, this will be my third in less than six months. So, I know the route, and the stopping places, the gas stations and places to eat. No. I bought the atlas for another reason.

Ok. Actually I did buy it for part of the trip. I have been confused several times on the toll road through Oklahoma. Mapquest will tell me to take a particular toll road, but I have missed it several times and ended up on another one. It seems both toll roads run (mostly) parallel to each other so I am uncertain why one and not the other? It seems that one is "local" and the other is "express." One has more toll stops but is less expensive, the other has fewer toll stops but is more expensive. Anyway I wanted the atlas to help me put it all in perspective.

I also bought the atlas because the one I had for ten or more years fell apart on my last road trip to Chicago. And, I've missed it. Google maps and mapquest are good for giving me the details of an area, a neighborhood, a city, or even a route. But it's hard for me to get the big picture of city within a state or a state within the country from my computer. I like to put it all in perspective.

This Lent, as I did two years ago, I will be moving. Literally moving across country. It's a strange way to spend Lent - packing, loading trucks, driving across country in uncertain weather conditions, and hoping it won't be that bad. Moving for Lent offers plenty of opportunity for reflection and the potential for significant transformation. But just what that all will mean remains uncertain. It is after all a journey, whether its Lent to Easter or the SE desert to the Midwest. The fruit of this journey will only be known on the other side. An atlas can help me get there. An atlas can help me see the bigger picture. But an atlas cannot tell me everything. Somethings just have to wait to be revealed.