This is my comic book rendition of a poem called ‘Lost’ by David Wagoner.
Click here or on the image below to read it.
First time I heard David Wagoners poem ‘Lost’ must’ve been over six years ago. It was beautifully read and elaborated on by David Whyte in one of his audiobooks. Then this summer as I was walking through the forest, the lines came back to me and I decided (probably for the zillionth time) to make a comic out of it.
I’d say it’s one of the slowest projects I ever worked on, taking about three months to actually finish this six page comic (thats two pages a month haha!), but considering the subject of the poem that’s actually quite poignant.
Some thoughts on the text
“What do I do when I’m lost in the forest?”
Actually this part of the text is not in the actual poem. It is simply called ‘Lost’. But it reads as an elaborate answer to that question. Therefore I thought it would be nice to include it as a title page.
I had a lot of fun exploring digital watercolor brushes and paper textures when coloring this. Though it’s always such a messy process for me. I never know where to start or when to stop.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called here”
A powerful statement about ‘feeling lost’ in whatever whirlwind you currently experience. This, to me, is the intellectual interpretation of meditation. Taking a step back, taking one (or more) deep breaths. Realizing that whatever shitstorm you are in the middle of, most of the time trying to run even faster of work even harder is hardly ever the answer. Something I still struggle with on a daily basis haha.
“And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.”
This stillness, this stepping of the treadmill usually sounds like the easiest thing to do, but often is the hardest.
“The forest breathes.
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.”
This is, to me, obviously a metaphor for listening to yourself. Paying attention to what is really going on inside you. Why do you feel lost in the first place?
This stillness, this silence inside you is something you need to embrace to figure that all out.
And you can count on it to always be there.
I had some great fun drawing panel three (tree?) there, with the swirling trees and everything.
“No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost.”
With these lines Wagoner drives home further (I think) the point of paying attention. A very mindful perspective on making your way through the forest that is your life. Where sometimes all trees, all branches start to look alike an can become nothing but obstacles in your way. Very reminiscent of David Foster Wallece’s This is Water speech.
The trees are not obstacles standing your way, they ARE your way.
Pay attention to them. Notice the difference in bark and leaves and branches.
Remember the stillness the forest brings.
I’m quite proud of how this page turned out, using a powerful repeat of the same scenery while emphasizing the difference in perspective for each character within that environment: a stupid tree or bush to one, can be considered magical and unique by another.
The forest knows where you are.
You must let it find you.”
This is where Wagoner drives home the point of standing still in the midst of chaos, of being completely lost. When you stand still and stop everything, focus on your breath, on each peculiar thing that has led up to this moment of you being here, soon you’ll realise there is no pressure, no need to hasten anything. Just follow your innate curiosity to wherever it may lead you.
At least, that’s what I read into the whole thing. Maybe he just meant that when you get lost, you shouldn’t start moving around so that the rescue brigade can easily locate you. Stop wandering around you idiot!
Someone else’s words
Anyway, that was my take on Lost. Hope you liked it and enjoyed the way I made a comic out of it.
It was quite liberating to be working from someone else’s words for a change (since I usually write all my own stuff) so I might just do more of that in the future.
For now I hope you have a great day and please, do not (NOT!) get bloody lost in any forest and stand still for six days and blame me for starvation and a probable death.