At my grandfather's house, at the top of a low alpine mountain, there is a glass cased cabinet. A curio cabinet with glass shelves as well. In there are artifacts from a traveler's life and mission trips around the world: South America, Madagascar, Borneo. There's a large blue butterfly pinned to felt. There's an ostrich egg, creamy and brittle, meticulously carved with lines and shapes, rhythmic and sharp. Mysterious or even meaningless glyphs dyed a deep burnt-umber brown. It has not left that case as long as I have been alive. It is to me a totem without context, as familiar as grandma's many button jars. Though it seems to be, it is hardly a static object. Like you and I, it is gliding seamlessly through time, always moving further from the mind and intent that crafted it. Always shedding meaning, and in its place, gathering like dust the growing likelihood of its annihilation: the catastrophe, the clumsy child, the errant maid, invisible chisels of entropy. I try to forget the seeming irrelevant fact that at thousand of feet of elevation, it is careening along infinitesimally faster that I am here by the sea. Irrelevant, but poignantly true. In comparison, there is little to separate the idea of that egg (platonically, the form) from the idea or form of a book. In fact, there is little that separates that delicate and empty egg, traveling as it is, away from intention and toward non-existence, from a word spoken or a thought produced in the shell of a mind. Each is cloaked in meaning like the feathers of a cormorant: illustrious and drab, loo light for water, too heavy for air, washed up on a beach like a rag, or clothing an ancient royal, but always frangible and changing.
you have put into words the wordless feelings of my heart when I too gaze at these things in my father and mother's house.ReplyDelete
You are so beautiful.