Sunday, August 7, 2011

It's Your Loss

Something that is lost to you--a person, a place, an object, even an opportunity--is a ghostly satellite, orbiting about you, perhaps wanting to be found or rediscovered, sometimes seeming to remind you with a pang that it is lost.

You often find yourself looking through your clothing for a particular fountain pen, a green Italian Stipula, with its fine, flexible nib, and the small precious gem embedded in its holding pin.  It has been lost longer than you possessed it, long since a symbol for the meaning of loss.  If you at one time had something and no longer recall it, the person or item or opportunity or even idea is still a part of you to the point where you might at some future time dream of it or be reminded of it.

If you have lost it and find yourself missing it, whatever or whoever it might be, it is still an active part of you; it defines you to yourself.  To put an enormous leap of metaphor into play, loss is the engine of the Cosmic Archaeologist, the detritus and jetsam of your life as you have lived it.

There is a small saucer of about an eight-inch circumference, residing now in your kitchen cabinet.  It was purchased on some kind of whim at a garage sale by your late wife.  Its heftiness is mitigated by its umber/adobe color and a symmetrical pattern of daisies defining its edges.  When time came for toast of muffins or something appropriate for a dish of that size, you always tried to get it for yourself because of the energy it brought into the house of being an artifact from the mealtimes of another family, perhaps even two or three others.

Thus do things grow in meaning and connection.  Now it has the added energy of having been purchased on a whim by someone who is lost to you.  It pleases you to think the dish will well outlast you and find its way to yet another home.

Your great archaeological friend accuses you of romanticizing artifacts, "which," he reminds you with a twitch of mustache and beard, "are for all practical purposes junk or garbage."

All is not lost for him; he loves his Mac Air notebook, his bicycle, and a canoe he is building in his backyard.  He radiates the love of and pride in his wife and daughters.

You love and feel comfort from the things you have deployed about you, your dog companion, Sally, the hundred books you'd thought to bring here with you that grew even before they were transported and have begun to sprout beyond the shelves, as mushrooms appear after a soaking rain.  You love wandering the ghostly corridors of lost things and people and those particularly memorable lost beings, Sam, the cat; Blue, Edward and Jed, the bluetick hounds; Molly, whose parts were as imaginative as a patchwork quilt; Maude, the cat; Armand, the cat; and briefly Nell, the splendid Cattle Dog.

Through loss, you have understood your way beyond mere possession or presence, and into the rich vibrancy of story, the stage upon which awareness is played out.

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