A totem for the next ten years.
June 15, 2020


Lodestone or Lode: from the Old English obsolete lād meaning “way, course, or journey”

A lodestone is a naturally magnetized piece of the mineral, magnetite (Fe3O4), which gets its properties from a strike of lightning. Originally supplied in the 5th century BC from the Greek colony of Magnesia and called Magnesian stones, lodestones were used as the first compasses and heralded the Age of Discovery.

An eloquent description of the magnetism of lodestones was provided by Titus Lucretius (98-c55 BC) in his six-volume scientific poem. Intrigued by “action at a distance” Lucretius described lodestones this way.

Moving on I shall begin to discuss by what law of nature it is that this stone can attract iron. The Greeks call it a magnet, after its fatherland, seeing that it cropped up in the native territory of the Magnesians. Men look at this stone with wonder for time and again it creates a chain of little rings dangling from itself, and as a matter of fact one can see five, sometimes more, serially suspended, swayed by breaths of air, where one hangs from another one, in ever lower attachment, and one from another recognizes the connecting force to the extent that it pervasively maintains its power.

Lucretius, “On the Nature of Things” De Rerum Natura (DRN); 6. 906-916.

Reflecting on the words of Lucretius, I am struck, as by lightning, with an epiphany. We are all like lodestones. Our inherent directional forces, as delicate as the attachments observed by Lucretius, “swayed by a breath of air,” are always pointing us true north toward equity and fairness. What we need, especially now, is a totem to remind us of these forces.

To celebrate the Firm’s 10 th anniversary, we sent each friend, colleague, and client a modern lodestone as a totem—a Suunto Global Compass.

A totem with a global needle to remind us that there are no boundaries to our journeys, declination correction to remind us that there will be peaks and valleys, a magnifying baseplate to remind us that even the small things matter, non-skid footpads to remind us to stand firm, markings for working in low light to remind us that the path may not always be clear, and finally, a sighting mirror to remind us to look inward because every person’s journey is unique—not unique in any particular way, but unique because we are all human.

I am so grateful to everyone who traveled with me and the members of the firm during our first ten years as we have worked together to CREATE, TRANSFORM and LEVERAGE ® translational ideas. They were always there with tireless support and unconditional friendship. And in the words of another famous poet, “…that has made all the difference.”