Magnetic North

photo from

As rocks are formed their tiny little metal parts orient themselves according to where and how strong the magnetic pole is. It’s like a tiny little snapshot of an invisible history the geologists can use. They’ve used it to track where the pole used to be and how strong the force has been. They know that the pole moves from north to south sometimes. They know that it fluctuates in its pull. Sometimes it exerts more influence than other times. Occasionally, it’s not there at all.

Scientists aren’t sure what will happen the next time the magnetic pull of the Earth fades to nothing. But, at the very least, it will wreak havoc on the simple compass. The compass’ one job is to aim it’s magnet toward the magnetic north pole so the you can adjust your direction accordingly.

This is something like how I feel about my mom.

She was always there. Whether I wanted her to be or not, she was there. She moved around, she exerted more or less amounts of influence over my course of direction, but she was there. So, my compass was set to point itself toward her.

And whether I railed against her and set my course southward away from her or toward her, I always knew that she was there. Pulling.

and now she isn’t.

So my poor compass is spinning wildly in it’s effort to find it’s accustomed polarity.

I am standing here in stillness – not moving. Lost. Trying to learn a new way to navigate this world. It’s cloudy and I can’t quite make out the stars yet. I have no astrolabe, no GPS.

With any luck the weather will clear and I will be able to see the North star when she rises.

Because my mama taught me that I can always find my way.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leslie @ Five to Nine
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 14:03:23

    I love this rocks and magnetism metaphor for direction, love and loss. You capture really well how so many of us feel about the constant ebb and flow of a parent’s pull. I’m so sorry that your needle is spinning wildly – I can only imagine your grief and bafflement. Thinking of you.


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