Lost in the Stars


I have recently been involved in trying to help some people move. Since they are going to a smaller place they have to get rid of stuff. A lot of stuff. And even when something isn’t an heirloom it can still be a memory; and a memory can be important.

I have stuff that I am unlikely to ever need to use again, such as my freshman college physics book. I’m unlikely to ever need that again, since I could look up anything in it on the Internet, and find it faster. However I have memories attached to that battered old book, like how I got rid of a roommate with it once... but I digress.

Even now there are things that are hard to get rid of, because they might be useful one day. Like those test tubes that some vanilla beans come in. I mean come on, I could certainly use those for something. Then there are all the other books that I’ll never have the time or inclination to read again, but getting rid of them? Nope, can’t do it just yet. If only I could get them all loaded up on my ebook reader, but some of those books will never be made electronic. If I had the time to do it myself, I’d have the time to read them again, now wouldn’t I?

Even if I could store some of my stuff electronically it’s just hanging around on my hard drive like electronic clutter. I never really look at the pictures I took of my hike around the trail in the Carpenteria salt marsh, but I’m not ready to get rid of them either. There’s still plenty of room on this hard drive.

I was talking to a man the other day about all kinds of things, and somehow in our conversation we said (it could have been either of us) that our thoughts were certainly one thing someone could take from us that wouldn’t leave us any worse off than before they took them.

That made me think about the duo “Trout Fishing in America” (which we saw in Pasadena recently). Years ago they had their van stolen. It really hurt that after the van was recovered the only thing left in it were their CDs, and as a writer I keep thinking about what if someone took my stuff, but left behind the books I’d written.

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