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I recently read that a geologist discovered a piece of the Appalachian Mountains in southern Mexico. This isn't breaking news, but it was to me. Living here all my life, I am surprised by the ability of a gigantic mountain range to somehow lose a piece of itself, and for that piece to end up thousands of miles away. The geologists thought the piece of land belonged to a different mountain range, but when they discovered that the formation patterns within the analysis belonged to the Appalachians, it dramatically changed everyone's conclusions about how our planet was made. Everything is different now.

One morning, after unpacking the rest of my stuff and settling into the new house, I found my father's compass case. My father--whom I was never really close to--was always giving me things from his boyhood, and I prized these as hints about the man he was before he met my mother, before everything went the way it did in not so pleasant ways. He gave me this compass when I was younger. Some Christmas, many years ago, a stocking stuffer held in an antique English brass tin. It had once apparently been marked for 25 cents in a yard sale (written in Sharpie marker on the underside--shame). Anyway, that summer morning, finding the compass case, I thought, Great! I'll put it in my hiking pack for later trips. I opened the tin...and it was empty.

I have no idea where the compass is now, and I have a feeling I will never see it again. It was lost along the way. A piece of me that's probably now in Mexico. Who knows.

Everything changed this summer, and now I am back to guiding myself not by the head, not by what used to be sound reasoning toward logical conclusions, but by the heart and by acknowledging that I cannot control all things. Sometimes the earth shifts me, but I cannot shift the earth. I keep the empty tin on my desk next to my pencil cup. It probably needs a scrub and shine, but I let it grow tarnished, as we naturally do to ourselves, I suppose. We build layers of revelations, of events, of memories we didn't expect, and we are served reminders of how small we are when compared to how the mountains move.

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