Remembrance of things lost

“The oil in the hold is leaking, sir. We must up Burtons and break out.”

“Up Burtons and break out? Now that we are nearing Japan; heave-to here for a week to tinker a parcel of old hoops?”

“Either do that, sir, or waste in one day more oil than we may make good in a year. What we come twenty thousand miles to get is worth saving, sir.”

“So it is, so it is; if we get it.”

I left it somewhere, but I don’t remember now exactly where. Maybe I have lost it entirely. But, then it is the sort of thing that gets lost. Small, and easily mislaid. Still, I wish I knew where it was. It should be in my jacket pocket, but it isn’t. Or on my office desk, but not there either. So, I look. Where do I last remember it? Last night, in the bar, reading quotes from Lawrence which I had copied out from the book to the notebook. Yes, that’s right, something about riding a bicycle up a hill, and painting pictures from photographs (a miserable business apparently). I had that written out in the little notebook.

An R50, made in Japan. My sister noticed that I noticed, and she sent it to me for my birthday, I think. But I don’t think she would mind much if I lost it. A small thing like that, you are just going to misplace it sometime, and then there it goes. It is better not to be so attached to things, and yet. Where is it? What did I have in it anyway, nothing personal or important. Everything is replacable. Well, not everything, but this thing at least.

I got up from the table, distracted by something, so I might have put it down then walked out without it. I should call that place and ask if anyone found it, but who would find it? I put my name on it, but otherwise some random notes about what I have been doing. A grocery list, and maybe some sky charts, well, not charts really, but pictures of what things look like through the 25 mm objective on a clear night. Clear night? I should get a light pollution filter. It might help me find things again. I should not have carried it with me, or taken it out of my pocket, but it is too tempting. Sometimes, it is fun to look for things, and sometimes it is just aggravating. Maybe being sure it is up there. Whereas, this notebook, I don’t know. Intentionality is that way. We look for intentionally inexistent objects. M65 M66 in Leo. Not inexistent, not entirely anyway, maybe there is something. The notebook, probably just gone. I should forget about it. Think of something else.

Sometimes I put it in the car. So, now I am hopeful? But I want to give it up. Things are not supposed to matter. Anyway, it is not in the car. It is not in the car.

Well, then, it is lost, and I can just forget about it. But I have had things slip off and end up under the seat in the car. Maybe.

Well, there was one time when I lost my Peterson field guide. And my notebook and the bag I carry them in. This one turned out nice. At the airport on Dauphin Island, we were looking at some tri-colored herons, and maybe there was also a Peregrine falcon that flew by, so it is not wonder that we misplaced the bag. Anyway I should know better than to carry everything together like that. It’s all together, so it all gets lost at the same time. I had meant to transcribe those notes into a more permanent location, but of course, never did.

But then Kathy, reading the bird blog sees a lost and found entry: found a field guide and notebook at the Airport on Dauphin Island. “Hey, that’s gotta be Tim’s”, she says. We respond and then something happens. I get in touch with whoever has it, but he is in Mobile. I could, and most likely will sometime, drive down there, but he says that he will be in Birmingham this coming week end, and if I can call him sometime, we can meet. Well, it feels good to find something, even after you had talked yourself into not caring much anymore,and that sort of thing can be replaced, after all, as it can.

Trouble is, between now and the week end, I lose the phone number, and I don’t hear from him, and the week end comes and goes and no books. Again: “Well, that’s okay, I didn’t really expect it. But I did expect it.” But then, as the songwriter says: “. . . must you wait? just you wait!” But then, another email. “Did you get your book?” “Well, no, but I guess it is in Mobile with someone, I am not sure how to find.” “No, we left it in Birmingham. You should check there, with . . .” So, I check.

Yes”, she says, “I have it here. I can leave it on my porch. Just stop by you can pick it up.” So, now I am just looking for a house I can’t find. But, no, I can find a house. So, I could tell a story about looking for a house, but really, you must know that story already. Just down the street. One of those neighborhoods with hills and curvy streets. But now, there is a house there, and that house has a porch, and the porch has a bag, and the bag has some books (and a pen) . . .

So, some things that are lost are found again. Not just souls, but also books. I am happy to have it back. No, I have not transcribed the contents into a safer location. I have not stopped carrying everything all together. I have convinced myself that it is not such a tragedy to lose the thing, so I have that. And perhaps they can’t take that away from me. Which is not to be said for everything. There are things lost that can’t be found. There are things that can’t be saved. Not a parcel of old hoops, or a book or notes, or memories of the taking. Some things are lost.

Now, though, what I was looking for in the beginning, oh, wait, there it is.

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Category: Tim's Stuff | 1 comment

  • Teri says:

    I came to my desk and found that the icon on my computer for your website had changed. I clicked on it and found myself where I wanted to be, reading your words. You reminded me of how much time I spent looking for lost items for Mom and never found them while she was here to see. It was over a year after she left us that I stumbled upon the “lost” items and I cried for a week.

    Carrots are fun to plant from seeds. They sprout pretty fast and I like to nibble on them when they are small and tender.

    Thank you Tim and love to all.


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