I love the GPS on my phone, my Link, except when it’s wrong.

It has taken me to a road called “Monkey Trail” for the last 15 kilometers of the trip. The books warn against taking Monkey Trail. One kilometer in, the trail fords a creek of depth I can’t judge. I back up and turn around.

A petulant navigator, GPS nags and sulks when I say that it was wrong, and keeps trying to send me down unmarked roads. I finally mute the volume. I begin to use a paper map for guidance.

GPS stares at me. “I thought you said you’d ended communication with her,” it says, and because I had no charger, or out of spite, it goes completely blank and silent.

That’s a good thing. Map and I continue on together. She is in the hand that also holds the wheel. I now look at and read signs, and figure out names of villages that present a fork in the road.

I have to decide if I’ve gone too far or not far enough to arrive at the next decision. Map suggests, never demands. The sky is partly cloudy.The ocean is iridescent blue under clear sky, is a muddy color where it reflects the white, gray and orange clouds of the descending afternoon.

Slowly, scale begins to come into focus, and what I see on Map in my fingers represents what I see on the ground. This left turn must dead end at that peninsula. The headland emerging from the jungle canopy ahead must have a way around.

Pacific Ocean claws at quartz-ribboned cliff face. Rocks recently fallen are chewed into pebbles by waves. Cacti and palms hang precariously over the edge, soon to fall. Erosion seems to be destruction, but the ocean was pushed back once by the land, this is simply the cycle, summer to winter, night to day.

We arrive at our destination just as I began to doubt. GPS Link is dead on the seat. I put it in my pocket. I leave Map there where I can reach for it, once loved and still a good friend, with shared experience, to turn to when lost.

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About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon

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