Sunday, June 13, 2004

I bought a compass yesterday. Except it does not point towards the north. It points to Mecca. I am not Muslim. nor Christian or Buddhist or miscellaneous. I have only cursory understanding of Islam and the significance of Mecca. I do know that the city is important enough to ensure the devout need the ability to divine its location no matter where in the world he or she my reside.
I was attracted to the idea that this compass points to a city. a city built by humans and occupied by humans. Knowing where this abstraction North is has only a utilitarian attraction. No one uses a compass to go to the North. They use it to find some other place which may or may not lie in the North.
For everyone of us I am sure there is a geographical location that we think wistfully about. It would be nice if we could focus that longing by facing in the direction of that spot and know that if I walked in that direction I would arrive at that city or that place which holds watch over my most cherished memories. I am lucky enough to have several places to care take various wonderful memories of my life. Having my memories scattered about the planet makes it difficult to focus one's reflections. So, I have gathered each of them carefully. I have found a nice safe corner of a city to the east to which I have never been and stored them. To locate them I have this compass. A compass covered in a script written in wisps of smoke. A secret incantation to bring all my wonderful memories back to my thoughts. All I need to do is follow the compass' needle and look over the horizon to retrieve them.

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