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 cabbie 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.