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Hanging from a branch in the median, torn, tacky, and glittering in the sun is a piece of orange and black Halloween garland. Maybe the wind got tired of kicking it around and dropped it and it twisted itself around the tree just to have something to hang onto. It looks kind of sad, unraveling there. Just a piece of shiny, discarded plastic. Sparkling in the sun, startling me a little with its pathos and glitter, a tiny crack in the universe. Somehow it hits me in the gut. I catch my breath.
Once, as a little girl, I was wandering around outside my Uncle Red’s transmission shop, a squat, sensible concrete building scented with sawdust and motor oil and transmission fluid. A rivulet of rain had opened the red brown dirt outside into a tiny pool, slick with oil on the top; oil curving like rainbow colored smoke clouds, discarded by accident somehow, an unwanted pollution cheerfully coloring the face of the puddle with indigo and pink in the sun and I squatted down on the mud to stare at it, watching it move and swirl, touching it with my finger, lost, another minute, surprising tragedy. How can a thing so small, a tiny error pull so hard at something in the center of me? A random moment that means something because obviously it doesn’t.
Broken branches, abandoned eggs, shining mud. A broken amber beer bottle with its golden dragon’s teeth smiling as hard as diamonds from the edge of the road. The odd dead beetle, iridescent in the half light, the only attendee at its own lonely funeral at the bottom of an old flower pot. Compact magnetic tragedies that somehow find that little crack in the soul and crawl in to find a home.
Yesterday I lost thought. It was a brilliant thought…pithy and poignant…a philosophy of life squeezed into a single statement. I mourn it. Who knows at what juncture of the nexus of life itself this thought was located? Next to the beating heart of reality itself? Sustaining itself on the very nectar of existence? It might have changed my life and now it is gone. What happens to a lost thought? Does it simply disappear? Or does it die as though it were a human soul, leaving only a marker? Does it go to live with all the other lost thoughts, thoughts that have escaped being preyed on by the dull human brain? Perhaps thoughts are teasing creatures with lives of their own, and they put on a slightly different disguise each time they venture out to haunt someone, hoping to avoid capture, living to make a mockery out of poets and artists, philosophers and comedians. Perhaps capturing a thought is the same as killing it. Squashing it flat on the paper or the canvas like a butterfly pinned to a card. Every idea I have loses dimension and edges as I pour it onto paper…becoming thin and fragile at risk of cross examination or even extermination. A thought pinned down, and flattened out is imprisoned and exposed to attack or worse yet apathy. Though I am sad, perhaps my lost thought is better off flitting back to whatever world it came from, springing lightly from cloud to cloud with it’s wings intact, still filling out all three dimensions or maybe a million dimensions that would never fit in my head. I wish it well.