Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lost and found

I just lost a favourite scarf, an orange wool rectangle with Tintin and Milou embroidered on one end (we are a reverent Tintin family). Unless it turns up at my friend Alice's, whom I visited a few weeks ago, but who is traveling now, it is mysteriously gone.

When I lose a beloved, familiar object, there's a sequence: the initial sinking, the reminiscence, the futile hope that it might still turn up, the eventual wistful letting go.

About five years ago Le Duc gave me a beautiful turquoise ring on Christmas. The next day I wore it to a yoga class at my health club, removed it along with my watch, and left both in the studio when class ended. I never saw them again. My distress was deepened by knowing that somebody must have picked them up, and ignored my pleading signs (with offer of reward) for their return.

Belette mentioned the sick feeling she had losing a diamond bracelet she loved. I had immediate empathy: I've felt that specific nausea, a depth of regret that I judge as superficial- it's only a thing, after all- but cannot shake.

Scarves, gloves and umbrellas are loss-prone, but I have also lost jewelry, books, bags, and the odd article of clothing. The moment of acceptance, that it is utterly gone, varies from minutes to months.
Replacing the article does not circumvent mourning.

Some stow objects in a safety-deposit box or pack them away, chanting "what if, what if". But it might as well be gone already, as one is held hostage to the fear of loss. You know you have, but cannot enjoy, the possession. In Anne Tyler's "The Accidental Tourist", Macon Leary advises the traveler to "journey with nothing he could not bear to lose".

Caution is fine, but being fearful is chokes off life, sentences us to the sure and safe.

I've had marvelous moments of found: going to the Lost & Found at the same health club and having my faith redeemed. Someone kept my ring and watch, but another person (I assume) turned in an antique lizard brooch that fell off my sweater.

A cabb
ie drove 25 miles to return a sport coat my nephew left in his cab. I wouldn't dream of "finder's keepers", knowing how deeply I have appreciated these acts of kindness.

I wish I would find my scarf.

9 comments:

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Although I'm not familiar with Tintin, I bet it's a cute scarf. Here's hoping it turns up.

We all have our "ones that got away." Mine include a couple of beautiful silver handcrafted bracelets (lost due to inadequate toggle clasps) and a favorite watch (left at the gym). Such is life, I guess.

Northmoon said...

I get this feeling when I break a good piece of pottery or china. It can be stuck together again sometimes, but not well enough to be used for the original purpose.

I still love to collect and use my nice pieces so I have to accept the possibility they may get damaged or broken in the process.

The Buddhists have a concept where they think of the bowl as already broken, as it will be someday. Nothing lasts, nothing stays the same.

Hope your scarf turns up.

Duchesse said...

Nancy: Oh, those toggles. I now avoid them on bracelets.
Northmoon: Thank you for contributing the Buddhist concept, it encourages one to put something to use, instead of hoarding.

bonnie-ann black said...

i have lost some beloved jewelry -- my house was robbed -- it wasn't terribly expensive stuff, but very sentimental attachments were connected with it all.

i love the buddhist concept. my family refers to this as "the white silk robe." when my parents had been married only a year or two, my father was in hong kong and bought my mother a white silk robe. having two very small children at the time (and later acquiring 6 others), she put it away for the day when it could be safely worn. 20 years and several moves later, she finally took it out to don it, only to find it crumbled and shredded in her hands. so now, whenever someone says "Oh, it's too nice, I'll save it." we caution, "remember the white silk robe!" and use the item. if we lose it, or it breaks, at least you got some pleasure out of it first.

WendyB said...

I wish that you find your scarf too. I lost a diamond bangle once. I just hope whoever found it realized what they had and is enjoying wearing it.

Duchesse said...

bonnie-ann: Your family story touched me. I have a friend whose philosophy of life is summed up by her motto, "Use the good china every day."
Theft is another level of loss, scarier because someone is in your home. Cybill wrote a great post about this last year- the theft of jewelry she had not worn enough.
Wendy: Aaargh, I hope so too.

materfamilias said...

You describe very well the various stages one must pass through to reconcile oneself to the loss of a special object or garment -- it takes a surprising amount of time. But I absolutely agree that using these items is still worth the risk, much better than putting them away and keeping them safe. I recently broke the lid of a perfect little one-cup Wedgewood teapot whimsically decorated with elephants -- I loved it, and I'm so sad it's now missing a lid, but I enjoyed it so much for all those cups of tea, so many small moments of pleasure.

Duchesse said...

materfamilias: I broke a beloved china dish with images from Babar on it. When two artisans were building a pique-assiette table for the back yard, they incorporated the pieces and called the table "A Home for Babar".

Anjela said...

I hope it shows up- Drives me insane when I lose something-I keep searching and retracing my steps until I find it.
I once had a pair of Tiffany earrings and took them out - must have placed them on the Sunday papers. I threw the papers out on Monday and never recovered the earrings-saddened me.