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The Great Turf by Albrecht Durer

The Great Turf by Albrecht Dürer (1503)

Did you ever get lost in the woods in familiar territory? Maybe it happened because you stepped on an enchanted clump of  ‘stray sod.’  

Stray sod blends in with the rest of the turf in meadows and forests and is only discernible to the forces that created it.  Some believe that it grows on the back of a tiny fairy that spends his time hunched over on the ground, waiting patiently.  Woe to the walker or hiker who has the misfortune of stepping upon it. He or she will quickly lose their way, unable to figure out their intended direction or wheareabouts. 

Usually, neither children nor adults will wander too far into unknown wilderness.  When things begin to look a little too strange, a survival instinct will kick in whereby they’ll feel spooked and turn towards familiar territory.  Unfortunately, some people (not unlike myself) lack this instinct.

I’ve been lost in a lot of places:  Paris, Rome, Athens, a small town in Germany, Halifax, Dartmouth… the list is long.  My sense of direction leaves something to be desired.  As you can imagine, I’ve also been lost in the woods.  A lot.  Sometimes while alone, but at other times with children in tow.  As if being lost isn’t bewildering enough, it’s even more difficult to appear like you know where you’re going when you just don’t have a clue.   If stray sod did not exist, people like me would have had to invent it – if only to save face.

There is one way to supposedly break the spell of the enchanted turf, and that is to take off one’s jacket, turn it inside out and put it back on again.  Unfortunately, I get so disoriented when lost that I can never remember to do this. 

leprechaunThe Irish were among the first Europeans to settle in the Eastern Passage/Cow Bay area.  When they left Ireland, I don’t imagine they left their faith and superstitions behind, but brought them along with them to the New World.  Among their beliefs would have been those associated with faeries and leprechauns.  Though to some it may all seem like nonsense, living on the edge of a misty bog, I do find it difficult not to believe…

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

 

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