An old friend reminded me recently that during high school (I dread to mention how long ago this was) I gave her a copy of the "Premier Book of Major Poets" complete with an inscription and date. She described the book as being "discoloured and worn-out", nestled among a collection of other poetry books in her collection.
This got me thinking of course about those tiny fragments of ourselves that are given to others and reflect a significant point of connection frozen in time, a tangible representation of moments where among friends the sharing of ideas and art opens doors to a bigger world.
In this case the poetry book existed outside of conscious memory for quite some time. I have been trying to reconstruct the story behind the book and what inspired this, but I am all too aware that my memory can be a capricious dictator at times, operating under terms outside of my own control or influence.
Perhaps it is an egocentric exercise, but it makes me wonder what other tiny pieces of me are floating around out there. I know that in my possession there remain a few treasures from people who have been significant in my life, including a few mixed tapes and inscribed books that have endured numerous moves in the ensuing years. These are gems that I take out from time to time, unearthed in a ritual of remembering.
I really appreciated my friend reminding me about this book that I gave her, and it made me think of just how unaware I am at times of the trail, or "essence" that it is possible to leave behind in even the slightest of encounter with another human being. I can at times fall into the trap of discounting the past and not making necessary connections to those moments that have enabled me to come to where I am today.
Of course there aren't always tangible representations like books or mixed tapes to serve as a memory queue. Occasionally we can be blessed with a persistent or stubborn memory that takes hold and refuses to let go, a fragment of time that connects you to another person and to a moment of friendship. These memories can be just as dog eared and worn just like an old book, and be all the more precious for it.