On this particular day we didn’t need a compass as backup, basically we just had to follow the disused railway line (which is a sore point, our state government lost its economic compass and abandoned rural narrow gauge lines in favour of trucking). Once a couple of years back, we lost our way, we had no compass and the map didn’t align with the intermittent trail indicators, we lost thirty minutes in very warm weather, which is critical here. We made it back to the trail and even made up time, but had we gone an hour it would have meant the possibility of abandoning the hike. After that we always double checked we’d packed a compass, and nowadays an emergency locator beacon. The rail line was perfect that day. The compass and map acts the same, it’s a rail or guide to stick by, and takes the guess work out of navigation.
In my experience leaders and governments, corporations and charismatic gurus have lost their compass. I hesitate to say moral compass, because that’s always a matter of experience, culture, age, and expectation. And moral compasses are caught up in that awful legalism of moralising – and a pox on that. No, those we look to have lost their way, and they’ve forgotten the compass that helps guide them to community needs, community dreams, and community wisdom. That compass is our voice, our voice in every form (ecologically speaking), pointing a way.