Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

Good morning, Corrigan!

1 Comment

In fifth grade we went orienteering. There was nothing in our history that said we would be good at orienteering. Most of us, in our 10 or 11 years on this earth, had never even heard of it. But off we went. Handing in our signed parental waivers as we filed into the big yellow school bus, perhaps as unaware as livestock heading off to market. We stopped in the middle of the largest forest we had ever seen. Surely this was the beginning of a horror film. We stomped into the wooden cabins and waited. Of course we would wait for dark. That’s exactly how it would read in the script. We were assigned teams. We didn’t pick teams like in sports. No one had any idea who would actually be good at this, so it would have been hard to choose key members. There were brief instructions. No one listened. We assumed, as in our monthly fire drills at school, we would march out, and somehow march back in. We were given compasses and charts and courses. Each team was to finish a specific course, mark it on the maps and return to base camp. Teachers waited up in the trees, to watch us, or to frighten us. I imagine, as with any disaster, perhaps a plane crash – just before the point of impact when people start wishing they had listened to the preflight instructions – we began questioning each other, “does anyone know how to do this?” We didn’t. There was something about stars, I think. Maybe these compasses. And suddenly it became very clear that it was dark, and we were in the woods. We started running. This made the most sense. We picked any check point we could find. As fast as we could. And later than anyone expected, even with the running, we miraculously found our way back to the cabins.
In 1938, Douglas Corrigan made a flight plan from New York to California. Twenty eight hours after taking off, he landed in Ireland. He got out of the plane and said, “Where am I?”  To the amusement of both sides of the Atlantic, he stuck to his story of a malfunctioning compass.  He was given the name Wrong-Way and written into the history books.  Up until then, he had been merely a footnote.
The chaperones came down from the trees, and avoided being “up a creek,” as we were all alive and safe.  While no team exceeded expectations, our team ended up doing the wrong course, in the wrong direction, with the slowest time.  They gave us paper certificates, clearly made from the cabin’s photocopier, with the Wrong-way Corrigan award (or citation). We were no longer footnotes of the fifth grade. 
At some point we all have to find our way. Some of us need to follow the wrong path beforewe find the right one. Perhaps most of us. The wrong job. The wrong love. The wrong town. Sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way. Sometimes you have to take the wrong path. Draw the wrong perspective. Then things can become clear. I have done all. I have stumbled over my own heart and path, every day. But both are mine. Mine to walk. Mine to share. There’s no compass for that. There’s only faith. And the stars.

Author: jodihills

I am an author and an artist, originally from the US, now living, loving and creating in the south of France. I show my fine art throught the US and Europe, and sell my books, art and images throughout the world.

One thought on “Good morning, Corrigan!

  1. Oh yes, I have stumbled many times in many ways . HE has always guided me to the right path even through my stubbornness .

Leave a Reply