Look Harder

Dear J—

One of the great tragedies and anger-makers in our lives is the losing of things, especially when you know you have this particular thing but just can’t seem to find where you put it when you put it away in an attempt to be a neat person. For the kids they have these puzzle erasers made of different bits of rubber, brightly colored and which therefore must be chewed and batted about by the cat, to be discovered many weeks from now on some disarray after weeks of fruitless searching. It’s maddening to know you’ve got something but no, can’t quite find it.

I was able to fit everything I had at the office into four boxes, thought I was doing well and then the next guy said he got everything into a single box. So there. It is no doubt better to have less stuff, but how else was I going to remember things like the time we went hiking and saw a deer crashing through the path ahead of us, or digging up old battered bullet casings on the military base (and no doubt that’s where we were, only there were no signs specifically staving us off, right? There are memories and mementos, which are like physical worry beads you use to remind yourself of those particular thoughts and experiences.

Then again they advise you to leave only footprints and take only photographs, but we’ve done that too and I have a collection of pictures from the overflow basin, don’t I now? The big piece of quartz tells me where I was and how I got there and how far how fast how often. Dry eyes in the room, now: face forward, step lively. Time moves on even if you don’t have to.



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