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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Tea Lights

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

I like candles. I like their bright dot of flame, not overwhelming like an exposed lightbulb, but small and flickering, uncertain and alive. They evoke elemental forces, powers that both threaten and comfort.

Large candles bother me. They always seem to demand: consume me. I start to light them out of obligation rather than to create ambiance. I think, "When will this be over?" When the flame is hidden deep inside tall walls of wax, it's hard to tell if there's anything still alive down there.

Give me a tea light or a taper over a pillar or jar candle any day.

Panning for Gold

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

I enjoy sifting through old papers. Every year or so I go through my papers and every time I keep about half of the stack. I start with the papers collected since the last winnowing, from which I save maybe one sheet from every twenty. Unwanted papers are recycled or digitized. By the time I reach the papers that are a few years old, I only get rid of one out of twenty.

At the core of the pile the memories are dense. Fond, embarrassing snippets of poetry. Touching letters from friends. Notes from my favorite college classes, and drawings derived from boredom. Plans for world domination, plans for programming projects. Everything has a practical purpose, or else a significant core of meaning.

By the time I'm forty I'll descend through the strata of my life with easy familiarity. I'm looking forward to it, looking back on a trail of papers like memories. The old ones drop away until only the striking, the harrowing, the golden remain.