Scram, kid. Get lost.

Last week, we were under fire by security guards at the schmancy botanical gardens two blocks over. And we were speculating on our companion’s take on the incident. This week, we’re going to recall another incident. This time, we’re returning to the viewfinder parked right behind our own eyeballs. This time, we’re embracing our own perspective on loss. To get you started, here’s some perspective on the word “loss,”… which is strange if you think about it in terms of death. “I lost my mother several years ago.” That statement doesn’t make sense in terms of misplacing something. I didn’t lose my mother in the same place I lost my post office box key. Yet, both the key and my mother inhabit the space between the two definitions. See what sense—or nonsense— you can make of getting lost, being lost.

1. detriment, disadvantage, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get: to bear the loss of a robbery.

2. something that is lost: The painting was the greatest loss from the robbery.

3. an amount or number lost: The loss of life increased each day.

4. the state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had: the loss of old friends.

5. death, or the fact of being dead: to mourn the loss of a grandparent.

6. the accidental or inadvertent losing of something dropped, misplaced, stolen, etc.: to discover the loss of a document.

7. a losing by defeat; failure to win: the loss of a bet.

8. failure to make good use of something, as time; waste.

9. failure to preserve or maintain: loss of engine speed at high altitudes.

10. destruction or ruin: the loss of a ship by fire.

11. a thing or a number of related things that are lost or destroyed to some extent: Most buildings in the burned district were a total loss.

12. Military.

a. the losing of soldiers by death, capture, etc.

b. Often, losses. the number of soldiers so lost.

13. Insurance. occurrence of an event, as death or damage of property, for which the insurer makes indemnity under the terms of a policy.

14. Electricity. a measure of the power lost in a system, as by conversion to heat, expressed as a relation between power input and power output, as the ratio of or difference between the two quantities.[1]

In her book A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Viking, 2005), Rebecca Solnit discusses the importance of allowing yourself to get lost–both in life and in writing–in order to become more fully conscious. The art of getting lost, she says, “is not one of forgetting but letting go. And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss.” Write about a time when you got lost–physically, emotionally, spiritually, or otherwise–and how getting lost, and perhaps embracing that loss, resulted in something new being found.[2]

Death Valley

[1] loss. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. (accessed: December 11, 2012).

[2] From Poets & Writers “The Time Is Now,” March 8, 2012


One thought on “Scram, kid. Get lost.

  1. Interesting that we have so many definitions for this word, loss. It says something about human nature, and how we cling to what we have, or know. Seems to me the only loss that really counts is #4.

    By the way, I did lose my mother in the mall a few years ago. Checked the lost and found, but she never showed up. 🙂

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