a love of old maps

white ceramic cup on map
Photo by Filippo Peisino on Pexels.com

The papers roll out in large spools of art,

Covered in seas never sailed, and roads rarely ridden.

The crinkle of parchment and the yellowing lines

Add to the intrigue of maps from the past,

With so many errors and sea monsters drawn

To scare away travelers scared of the flat,

Worried they’ll sail right off the edge.

I follow those pathways with fingers untold,

The trails and the tracks that criss-cross the land

And taunt us in ways we hope to undo,

One day we’ll travel down each of those lanes,

Cross all those oceans and see foreign lands.

One last peruse of the beautiful art

And it’s rolled up and hidden, a secret

For someone to discover in years yet to come.

I really love maps and globes, and I couldn’t tell you where that love comes from. It’s not even like I know how to read the things. I literally could not live without my satnav if I’m not to get horribly lost.

But there is just something so magical about a map, and the older the better. The ones that are so old that they have funny creatures drawn in the oceans are my favourite. And the ones that are obviously really inaccurate because the cartographer had no pictures from above to rely on – they’re pretty cool too.

I think that a lot of the time, I like to imagine all the places that I could visit. I’m not particularly well traveled, so I enjoy the dreaming. What would it be like to take a boat ride down the Venetian canals? What would it be like to trek to Machu Picchu?

The people who actually draw these things are the real artists of this world. They are just beautiful to look at and I admire every little detail that is put into the work. I wish that we still had a use for them, but I guess Google Maps is fairly pretty – right?

Much Love

Rachel xx

5 reasons that listening should be your new superpower

I’ve just started watching Wanderlust on Netflix and I’m ever so slightly in love with the main character played by Toni Collette. I couldn’t quite work out what it was but I think it’s just the way that she interacts with the people around her. And then I recognised that look she gives when somebody tries to divulge a secret that they’re too afraid to fully admit. It’s the therapist look.

It’s not such a funny thing, because she does play a couples’ therapist in the show, so one would expect her to have a ‘look’. But I see that look and I want to just open up. And the characters around her do open up. She gets to hear EVERYTHING in the lives of her friends whether she wants to or not.

Now I do think that I’m a relatively good listener but I want to try this ‘look’ out on some of my friends, just to see what reaction I’ll get. I may get a scowl or a slap in the face, but I’m going to give it a try and see if I get people to start opening up to me a little bit more.

Most people who read my blogs, I can imagine, are the introverted type who like books and poetry and good story lines that can help you to escape from the world that we live in. So with this in mind, here are five reasons why listening should be your new superpower. These can apply to extroverts too, but I feel the introvert feels more deeply (sorry):

  1. Story lines. Most of us are writers and artists and it’s hard to come up with idea after idea. Listening to a friend for half an hour can normally provide you with about five year’s worth of writing material.
  2. Deeper relationships. I’m an INFP and I’m sure that any other feeling personalities out there will get me when I say that that is pretty much all I want in life. I want to connect with people on a spiritual level even if I can’t quite articulate what that means.
  3. You’re always at the centre of everything but never the aggressor. It’s so nice for me to know why people are feeling the way that they do, but on the other hand I hate being dragged into the gossip. If people know you as the listener they will go to you for a shoulder to cry on and some advice at the very most. If you are the gossip, you still hear everything but they go to you for a bitch ‘n moan session which is incredibly draining.
  4. People actually remember you more. I sometimes worry that because I don’t shout and make a noise like some of the stronger characters in my world, that I must just fade into the background and be totally unmemorable. But being the listener is a valuable cog in the machine and people remember the one who put them first. They remember the person who didn’t ram all their troubles right back down their throats.
  5. You learn so much about life. I wish that I had spent my twenties listening more. I would be so much more wise right now. My friend is twenty three and has a masters in all things therapy so she is well versed in the values of listening. Because she has learnt all this as part of her studies she is more aware of how humans work than I am and I have about twelve years on her. Now I’m playing catch up, but then there are people in their fifties who are still mouthing off like they know everything so it could always be worse.

Just try and think of a time you needed somebody to sit and nod. They could be thinking about what they wanted for dinner but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were there and that they made all the right sounds. I’m definitely going to try this a little more and I will report back with my findings.

Much Love

Rachel xx