Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day. I had been cooped up for the week. The roads are no longer covered with ice. I needed to drive.
Roderick and I used to go on random rides on the weekend. Once, we ended up in Port Henri, New York. Drove through town, just to see how it looked. Bought a pastry and coffee at a sandwich shop and took the dog for a walk at a roadside stop that had caught my attention because a young beech stretched out from a slope, calling to me. Another time we ended up at an Indian Motorcycle collector’s house in New Hampshire. Roderick had been given a sidecar and felt compelled to perhaps find a suitable host.
My road trips do not take me to such distant explorations. I am usually happy just running errands. I had not seen my friend Natacha, who owns Brown Dog Books & Gifts in Hinesburg, since well before Christmas, so that is where I aimed the car. I like that somewhere along the way I pass by a house Roderick built years ago. He has left his mark.
Natacha was visiting briefly with some customers and friends, so I walked around the shop and landed upon an irresistible find: A Tangle Art Meditative Drawing Kit. I used to illustrate stories and draw animals and mystical figures. I don’t think I have drawn a thing in over 20 years. This will provide a good starting point to reacquaint myself with pen, paper and colors.
The things we set aside, or leave behind. We live full lives yet our stories are never complete; even entire chapters are set aside, never finished. But if we tried to finish every single detail, we might never start the new chapters that bring us to the true depth of our story.
I know little of my parents’ stories and even less of my sister’s. It seems that not even two centuries ago we had an altogether different appreciation for and knowledge of the stories of our siblings and parents. Our stories were multi-generational then.
These thoughts cross my mind as my father-in-law slowly reaches the last moments of his last chapter. It may be days now. Heather, his daughter, has been at his side most days, wondering what each skirmish means and unable to decipher the bits of words he might utter. There is nothing left to do but wait. An original story and so many chapters, dwindling away, just like that.
Generals, artists, inventors and presidents have stories written about their lives. Come to think of it, even people who do despicable things end up as characters in best-selling biographies.
Perhaps everyone who ever lived should have a small book written about them, not just the famous people, so that the world would have a library of short stories about everyday humans. We all play a role in the ongoing story, after all. It could be called “The Library of Souls.”