I Was Lost
I got stuck in a lift today.
I was with my daughter.
I've never been stuck in a lift before.
Neither has my daughter in her 10 years of life.
We were on our way to collect my son from his football practise which was just finishing.
It seemed that the power failed somewhere between floor 2 and floor 1. The lift thought about stopping at floor 1, and then jumped back up halfway to floor 2.
What to do?
We shared the lift with 3 other people. Also on their way to football practise collection. No reception on phones; alarm on lift not functioning and no number to phone. My daughter looking a bit worried. We amused ourselves for a while. The other family making jokes along the lines of;
"Oh the last time I was stuck in a lift, it was with 5 other people. Only 4 of us made it out."
Those type of jokes. I'm glad my daughter is used to that kind of humour. I wondered again about the 3 old ladies locked in the lavatory (see Blog Day 13), my empathy growing by the minute as the fresh air in the lift seemed to diminish.
As I was telling my daughter that this would be a great story to tell her children one day, when we were free, on the other side of the lift door, my mind went back to another time when I was stuck; lost in the woods.
Many years ago with my now husband, we were hiking. We were in the woods somewhere. He went on straight ahead at a T-junction in the forest. Somehow, I veered off to the right and wandered on, thinking I would see him around the next corner.
But I kept hoping and continued on, calling his name.
I slowly began to realise that I was stuck in a predicament. I had gone quite a distance up a forest track. I could have backtracked, yet I didn't. I continued on up the windy forest track.
I remember it was holiday time around April. There was no-body else about. I didn't meet a single person. I realised that I was lost. I had lost my bearings and any sense of direction. I also realised that the probability of meeting anyone was very low. He had the backpack and phones inside. I know - isn't hindsight great.
I wondered if I would be spending the night in the woods. I didn't like that thought. And so I turned back and attempted to retrace my steps. But all the tracks looked the same to me. Forestry tracks built to gain access to the trees.
An hour in and I could feel my fear rising. Yet I knew somehow I could and would and had to, find a way back.
And then I heard it...a trickle at first and then a lovely gushing sound. A river. I knew that this river would lead somewhere down the hill. That it would come out somewhere. Always follow the river. So I followed it. Through the trees. Navigating my way over branches and the thick mossy forest floor. Inhaling pine.
Down down I went and into a clearing. A car park. An unfamiliar one. Uh oh now where was I? No sign of our car; my husband; or anything familiar. But there was a couple ahead.
Brazenly I approached and told them of my predicament and asked whether they could drive me to the other car park. Which I had a feeling was on the other side of the river and forest.
They kindly obliged. Relieved I realised I had being wandering for over 2 hours. I was wondering what my husband would be doing. Searching? Calling mountain rescue? Gone home?! If he had eaten all the cookies?!
I felt foolish to have taken the right turn in the path and not just going straight ahead. And yet, as Robin Frost, in his poem, The Road Not Taken said;
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
A short drive up the road and there was the familiar sight of the car park; our car and my husband.
Oh the relief. Oh the foolishness. Oh my satisfaction that I had found my way back. That I stayed calm and followed my instincts, eventually. A story to tell our future children one day.
Back in the lift, 10 minutes had gone by. The other people made contact with the outside. We were rescued by the man with the key. Stepping out into the fresh air. My son, he was happily helping the football instructors tidy up the balls.
All the while my daughter and I, we were collecting adventures.
"I felt fierce and humbled and gathered up inside, like I was safe in the world now." - Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found, Cheryl Strayed