For instance: a leaf.
And there are times when I first think of this object and no memory comes to me. Just a blank slate. And it's scary because I can picture a leaf dangling; dangling from what? I don't know. And it feels in that moment like my life is a small box that I have forgotten to take the lid off of; I am an unopened cookie jar on the counter of a life I should be living.
But, thankfully, as my blood pressure starts raising, something comes to mind. Characters and locations drift in from stage left and right and bashfully take the stage. An event looks at me apologetically. An old memory of my friend Eamon, shrugs as if to say, "we're all late sometimes".
And the show goes on. The leaf dangles from a maple tree behind a shrub that is too square, by an intersection that is too round, where a steeple of a church is too triangular. I walk by it to high school, and strangely nothing of consequence has ever taken place under or near it. I just know that that tree has watched me for a large part of my life. Seen different hair cuts and failed attempts at humor.
More recently I see a yellow leaf. It falls from a woman's purple jacket who has just come to see me at a bar. The door she walks through is painted black wood, with 8 perfectly square panes of glass in it which, in their placement, make the bottom of the door look heavier than the top. She smiles and brushes hair from her face, a short asymmetrical haircut. She always has this playful, coy, but also lost and shy look to her; someone in on a joke but a little terrified they will still be left behind.
She bends down and laughs at her carelessness and puts the leaf back in her pocket not explaining why it is there in the first place. An item with importance seemingly on par with a wallet, yet in the form of discarded foliage. There's some tears, short talk, and a plate of lentils with a side of thinly cut vegetables that come next. But none of that seems to have much to do with the leaf.