I did this mixed media piece in 2014. I had written the word ’The fullness’ over the page but other than that it was empty. Then I saw these old photos of Native Americans in National Geographics and liked the one with a woman looking out into the distant.
For some reason I wrote ’pathfinder’ next to her (maybe she was one) and I was thinking it turned out good. I really liked the word pathfinder and I was thinking I am one, of some sorts.
I used to joke with my friends that I didn’t have any super skills except my ability to always find my way home in the forest and that very few people beat me when it comes to finding mushrooms and chanterelles. Not very sought after abilities after all. And pathfinding the way the indians did it is sort of out-dated with GPS and other kinds of technology.
But I’ve come to realize that it isn’t outdated and despite all the new technology, or because of it, pathfinding is more needed than ever.
The ability to pay close attention to what is going on in your surrounding is very important when it comes to understanding what is going around in our lives, not just the forest. And not only in our lives but in the world. This is what really good journalists, authors, creatives and researchers (and others) do.
So what goes into being a pathfinder?
Firstly the ability to notice big and small changes in the environment.
A fallen tree, a big stone or how that mountainside is facing the south. Noticing the ground being wetter in front of you from seeing the change in vegetation.
Merging small as well as bigger clues helps you navigate, see trends that you can draw conclusions from and base decisions on.
Secondly it is the willingness to find new tracks when you are in the forest or thinking outside of the box if you are trying to see trends in the world or your life.
Paying attention is the tool but the pathfinder’s task is to find new territory, knowledge or ideas that can be brought home to inspire and inform others. Or just yourself.
If you need help pathfinding go here.