During the holiday influx of people, chocolate, more people, extra caffeine, lots of aspirin, occasional gifts and the frequently-heading-in-and-out animals, we lost a lot of things. Most daunting was when Shay the dog vanished for over six hours on New Years Eve, and again the next day (thank heavens for the kindness of both neighbors and strangers), but lesser things vanished in the swamplands of our home, specifically four things I tore up the house to find: a check Daniel received from his grandmother, money in a small plastic baggie Natalie received from the other grandma, Shay’s medieval collar and leash, and a pile of Netflix movies moved so many times for the long month between a broken VCR player and a new one that no one could remember them anymore.
It’s amazing how you can go through drawers, closets, bags of recycling, pockets of jeans in the laundry room and other vessels for the lost and forgotten repeatedly without finding what you’re looking over. Downstairs to the basement, upstairs to all the shelves in our bedroom and the catch-all kitchen desk, back downstairs to look on top of books and in between cushions, then upstairs to check bureau tops and beneath couches and beds. Still, none of these things appeared.
Until they did. Which is how lost things drive us crazy into both the despair borne of frustration, and the joy borne of surrender.
An empty box with a pile of tissue paper and and handful of holiday cards turned out to have Daniel’s check in it. The DVDs were hidden under an embroidery calendar on the kitchen desk where I had looked for the DVDs 32 times earlier. The medieval collar (aka prone collar, very important for Shay) never showed up. Trying to walk in the field with Shay’s leash tied around my waist because I couldn’t control him by holding that leash, I was madly pulled various directions, unable to get him to walk like a normal human being disguised as a dog, which led me to one conclusion: go buy another medieval collar, which I did. An hour later, I opened the laundry room door, and there, right in the middle of the floor, was the neat little baggie with Natalie’s Christmas money, in clear sight where I’m absolutely sure it wasn’t until this moment.
“You have to sneak up on what you’re trying to find,” Lou Frydman once told me about a letter he was looking for from his mother, lost for decades until it made its way to him. He eventually found it and shared it with me.
While I didn’t lose anything as valuable as what Lou found, having found some of what I was looking for brings me both peace and confusion. No matter: what’s lost most are answers to where the lost things went, and why and how they returned, edged with that uneasy feeling that something I’m looking at right now might easily disappear before my very eyes before it reappears on its own volition.