Tide

After John died, I started to take the books from the shelves of his study and pack them into boxes.  I didn’t know him that well but it made me sad somehow to touch the things he’d left behind, to start the process of emptying the world of another life.  It got me thinking about all the books I’d read in my own time and then I wondered what the point of all that reading was.  The more I thought about all those novels and poems and biographies, the less I could remember about them.  Only bits of plot, a character here and there and, every now and again, a line of particular beauty. That’s not much for all those milliions of words, I thought. So many thousands of dollars and hours invested in books and now the words mostly gone, the scenes long faded and only a faint impression of the pleasure of it all remaining. That’s a bit like life, I guess; so many minutes and hours and days of precious existence, the detail mostly forgotten and in the end only the sense of it all lingering. That’s all that’s left, before memory itself ceases,just the suggestion of a life, left behind like the beautiful pools of a vanishing tide.

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4 Comments

Filed under life, loss, memory

4 responses to “Tide

  1. A.j.

    and think of the damn money and time wasted in college school books that no one remembers!
    Books are so personal, you must keep a few of his favorites knowing he held and loved them enough to keep them himself…

  2. loubird

    There is something about this which is both comforting and scary at the same time. We humans of the modern era do love to keep track of everything, whether it be in books or memories. However, I’ve heard it said that the memory reflects more on the current person rather than the actual event of the past. I love this idea, even if it might make the things I’ve done seem less meaningful. To me they are still meaningful–no matter if I remember the details–something experienced in the now is always important to me, even if all that remains is the feeling and not the detail. Wow, life is so amazing. What a thought-provoking piece!

  3. Yes. Exactly right. I had an almost identical thought not long ago…….part of my conversion to poetry.

  4. hendergurlie

    I had a shelf in a house where I kept all the books I’d want with me if I travelled back in time and needed to be a wise woman who raised up a people’s intellectual capabilities.
    Now, I don’t live there, but my books still do and I think my ex is still trying to build a teleporter to send me and my books he now takes care of, somewhere else.
    Either that, or they’ve gone into the dumpster with the rest of the personality footprint I left in his house…
    Hard to say, really, but there seems very little chance I will get them back.

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