Posted on September 07 2018
In this day and age in which most of us fear getting lost in a place unknown to us, or losing things, memories, people, or ourselves, Rebecca Solnit makes a case for the value in loss and losing. This part-memoir, part-history-cum-travel book offers new perspectives on looking at the world around us and at nature, a force that will remain constant even as the inner workings of our mind fray and betray us in seasons of loss and being lost.
A particularly poignant theme in this book is the colour blue, widely discussed in a running thread of chapters with the same title, ‘The Blue of Distance’. A possible echo of the observation made by Solnit herself on the blue hues of the water and the sky -
And with that, she continues,
“For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go. For the blue is not in the place those miles away at the horizon, but in the atmospheric distance between you and the mountains.”
Solnit’s ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’ lays bare the author’s personal experiences and explorations of loss and losing with a tender vulnerability that both a celebrates and identifies loss as a natural occurrence in the physical world around us, and offers a comforting reflection of life that teaches us to embrace all of its wonder amidst the heartache.
By Cheryl Tan