My friend Ivo Lucchitta is a geologist by trade (retired) and poet by heart. He is one of the best users of the English Language I know, even though it isn’t his native tongue and even though he has four or five other languages fluently running around in his head. How he keeps his thoughts organized is beyond me, but I think you’ll agree that the following piece is organized into a delightful style!
Find Ivo’s book, Hiking Arizona’s Geology, here.
I do not consider myself an extravagant person. Quite the contrary. I cut a plain, maybe even a rather staid figure. But sometimes I amaze myself.
One such occasion was last Sunday. “So, what happened then?” What happened then is that I gathered a large quantity of glass jars that I had sitting around, the purpose being disposal and recycling. “Yeah, and what is so special about that?” What is special is that most of the jars are baby-food jars. “You are really trying my patience now”. No, no, hold it. They are daughter Maya’s baby food jars, and she is about to turn 50, so those jars have kept me company for half a century.
To tell the truth, the jars have been very well behaved: they have not grumbled or argued, they have caused no trouble, they have not minded being in a dark place, they have not decayed, and many have been useful by holding screws, washers, and other bits and pieces. Even the empty ones held the promise of coming in handy some day. What more could one ask for? The jars have in no way deserved this sorry fate.
I had actually started to think of them as artifacts of archeological caliber. Who knows, a few centuries from now academic archeologists might find much job security in studying them and writing innumerable learned papers on the strange habits of people in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Objects used as ornaments, no doubt. Bright, shiny, conspicuous. A tad heavy, perhaps, but then women will put up with much discomfort to make themselves more attractive.
Could the jars perhaps have been filled with colorful stones or even jewels? Embalmed humming birds? Dried flowers? Irresistible perfumes? Powdered aphrodisiacs such as rhinoceros horn? Oddly, the jars bear no holes that could be used for attaching to something, but they do have a strange spiral rib at the open end, perhaps a glyph in an unknown language. Maybe an invocation to an unknown god. Clearly ceremonial.
Perhaps the jars were actually intended to hold something, most likely sacred, in keeping with their splendid appearance. Holy ointments? Offerings of incense, myrrh, the blood of sacred oxen? We will never know.
More to the immediate point, I cannot fathom why I came to dispose of these objects. Such beauty discarded, such potential wasted! What got into me? It must be something to do with age. One gets impatient, one becomes irrational. One even indulges in extravagances that would have been unthinkable in earlier years.
I just hope I won’t live to regret this rash action, but I am fairly sure that tomorrow, or in a few days, urgent uses for baby-food jars will come streaming in through windows and doors to assault me and make me wish for less extravagance, and better sense. It is only to be expected.
March 14, 2016