Saturday, July 31, 2010

for C who asked...

Acorn Cottage is full of salvage, a testament to the patient faithfulness of inanimate objects. The work of our hands, (which includes the work of our machines, built by our hands), which most of all are the things that last. We come here, we do things, if we are lucky we touch others and are touched by them, and then we go away. Our things remain behind. There are tales I've read, about actually reading the record left behind, but that seems to me as much a fiction as the memories I find in discarded or gifted relicts. A kind of archaeology of everyday life.

Sometimes it comes as an echo. I carved a comb-edged pendant from wax, a design popular in prehistoric Finland, and under my knife I saw the same shadowed shapes so very subtly arising, the same thin gouges under the corners of the triangles as the unknown maker had left a thousand years ago. This makes my heart leap, to feel the hand/eye movement that passes through time. There once was someone who was a people too and now is dust, just as I am and will be.

On a journey, stopped for hours in a foggy coastal city, in the museum were, and probably still are, myriads of buddhist statues... the galleries were mostly empty of people, footsteps echo while inside. They were not made to be art, but to be signposts. The rooms so quiet, no flickering lamps, no color, no people, no recognition/connection. Waiting, to be of use.

Once upon a time, a century or so ago, a little girl hidden away. Did she feel the ground shake under their hooves, see through a crack the soldiers riding, horses trampling? I'll never know. I think that she came here not long after, and grew up beautiful.

Was she happy? Twice a bride, once a mother, did some of her dreams come true, at least for a time, in her life that I only know scraps from? I know that she was stronghearted and determined, and that she could talk to anyone at all.

I have a box, mauve and cracked and lined with velveteen, and a smattering of the cutlery that once lived inside. Some of the forks, the tines are a little twisted, a few of the knives, rust spots speckle, though emery paper and my hands will soon put that right, there is a spoon that obviously was caught in something large and grinder-ish. There are layers and layers of lives in those spoons. Not anything like a Complete Set any more, but each piece takes me back to a childs chair, a cup of fresh squeezed orange juice, and the barely seen shapes of a kitchen long gone.

the patient objects stay, and speak silently