Monday, February 13, 2006

a list of the lost

No, not people, and not animal friends--though I could list so many of each who came into my life and left my life. But objects. Possessions. Things gained and then lost, or stolen, or misplaced.

My grandmother said that lost things all go to the dark side of the moon. If she was correct, the jumble there will still hold:

my latest loss--a vase I bought a few days ago, and left in our car. It was inexpensive, yellow glass, frosted, with a dark blue swirl at the top. I loved the color, and imagined it full of spring flowers, or empty, sitting on a shelf, catching the light. In the paper bag with it were some packets of heirloom sweet pea seeds as well. Alas, we left the car unlocked in a big city parking lot, and one of my partner's bags, full of oddments of writing, though nothing he says he misses, was taken. And the paper bag with the vase and the seeds, and my little son's tape recorder, which he carries everywhere. I was grateful the thief left the bouquet of white Casablanca lilies, wrapped in wet newspaper.

a garnet and pearl ring, which my father gave me when I was six. One purply red garnet flanked by two tiny pearls. The ring was big for my skinny fingers. I wore it anyway...and it is now on the darkside of the moon, I guess.

red shoes. I didn't lose them, except to time, growth, and wear. Bought for school when I was almost 11, they were a dark, true red, leather, with two black ornamental, flat buttons towards the side, on the top. They were, I thought, so absolutely beautiful that I would wake in the night, go to the closet, and sit under the closet light gazing at them, sighing for the wonder of it. Perhaps it was the years of saddleshoes, black and white and laced up, that made those red shoes the wonder they were.

My beautiful, trusted, adored Mont Blanc fountain pen. It was dark green, with a gold nib, and wrote so fluently. I used it throughout my journeys in Europe; I have journals and books of fair draft poems written with it; friends still have letters I wrote with that pen. It was a generous gift from coworkers at an east coast bookstore (one in which I got into a good deal of trouble as a union organizer). One sunny spring day I was traveling to the big town to the north and stopped at a Texaco gas station, where I left the pen on the back of the toilet commode. It had gone when I stopped again that afternoon, and how I mourned its loss. I've had a number of other fountain pens, and settled as well for all sorts of new disposables--but I see my Mont Blanc in my dreams still.

Another ring. Indeed, another garnet and pearl ring, and a fireopal set in silver by a local jeweler, and a puffy blue down coat in the pockets of which those rings were tucked, so that I could clean the motel rooms unhindered (the maid job was the only one to be had then). The garnet ring was from the turn of the century, ornate, the garnet very dark and large as my thumbnail, surrounded by tiny seed pearls, a gift from a dear friend and lover. I came from scrubbing toilets and making beds to see the coat, left on a chair outside, gone.

A cameo from my grandmother, set in gold, pinned to a black sweater. Sweater and cameo vanished one day from my bookstore, never to be seen again.

My journal and poetry notebooks from my last year in college. How foolishly I stored them with the parents of my then boyfriend. When I was back again in the country they had no recollection of the box of books and notebooks.

And what happened to the glass ship? Blown glass, fragile beyond belief, with sails and rigging. A gift from yet another true love. It lived in the windows of many a place I traveled after I left him to his orderly and, I hope, happy life, catching the sunlight. Did I drop it? Leave it? Give it away?

It is probably in the same place as my grandmother's silver hair pin, the one that clasped my long hair for so many years, until I cut my hair short, and put the pin aside, and then...where did it go? The pin was oval, with delicate etching upon it, with a silver bar to hold slippery Finnish-straight hair in place.

And there are scarves, and umbrellas, and books generously lent and never returned, and jackets, sweaters, hats. I seem to go through my life shedding things...but missing them. Ah, my fountain pen...


At February 13, 2006 6:50 PM , Blogger marlyat2 said...

I like that moon-jumble list. I've been thinking a lot about lost things lately... And had thought about a "lost" post, but I never would have known about all those things flying to the other side of the moon. Makes a perfect non sense.

The good thing about writing is that you can keep what you lose, if you like, at least in a way. Reminds me of Elizabeth Bishop, "The art of losing isn't hard to master; / so many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster."

At February 14, 2006 11:00 AM , Blogger jarvenpa said...

Ah Marly, I love that Bishop quote. At one time I wrote it on a stone in the flood garden, where it appropriately enough got washed away.

At February 14, 2006 11:12 PM , Blogger David said...

I don't have much of a problem with losing things. Rather, I have a problem with retaining too many things! However, there is a mystery from my childhood that I have wondered about for years. When I was about five years old, my parents gave me a really neat toy. It was an all metal replica of Air Force One (the Boeing 707 variety). It had lights and motorized retractable landing gear. I flew that plane all over my back yard. I landed and took off many times, until I had perfected my technique. I really enjoyed that toy, but after a few years, it had completely disappeared. I know that I took it apart and put it back together a few times (I was quite precocious with a screwdriver!) and recall having some left over post reassembly parts. So, I probably lost a few bits and pieces just due to my curious nature. Still, it was a rather large toy, at least a foot long. What became of it has been an occasionally recurring question for several decades now. I suppose it will be my "Rosebud" when I am old and frail. :)

At February 16, 2006 3:28 PM , Blogger Kimia said...

You made me to review my painful list of the lost :) so I would say, I feel a close sympathy to you now. If you found a way to go to the dark side of the moon, if you see a dark blue notebook it's my dear diary.

At April 11, 2006 4:35 AM , Blogger jac said...

A lovely post

At April 17, 2006 1:22 AM , Blogger a dracul said...

what saddens and angers me and after the shock of loss i am by nature vindictive, it's not that i misplaced something or lost it, some one took it, with a wallet, still freaks me out, and i say to myself i have to fill in all those forms, get replacements but i don't coz the thought is that it's too much to do, and there was this carriage clock, because it was a present from a i friend i no longer have for an engagement which never became a marriage, that loss no longer causes sleepless nights, makes me feel like a fracking sieve. oh and i am as spiritual as the next man, no point trying not to be vindictive if that is who i am eh. this is a nice blog, i'll wander about here for a while, you can't do that in convent gardens, or chapels, everything belongs to someone these days which means it don't belong to me, apart from this blog. guess there can't be anything of value here hmmm.


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