When I say that I’d like to make something of lasting value, I don’t mean that I feel driven to build a cathedral or invent a new technology – I just imagine passing along some little handmade bit of art or crochet, a book I’ve written, a photo, or even a diary that can be passed along to others and pick up stories of its own – a little truth, a sprinkling of fiction – along the way. Something tangible that can survive being packed away, discovered anew, cared for gently, handled carelessly, lost and found, or worn and frayed by some amazing life experience of its owner. I wonder if it will travel to places I haven’t seen, halfway across the world. Or maybe I’ll be the one to travel, while it stays rooted to one place. Whatever it is, it will acquire a history of its own, and I’ll be some small footnote in it.
I wonder if I can enlist the aid of all the parents who have ever brought Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; or A New Leaf for Lyle into their homes to help me with this one? My kids’ bookshelves are full of books I treasured as a kid and books I’ve introduced their friends to as adults. There’s more to their stories than their stories – there’s who chose and bought the books, what the readers thought about when they first read them, and why they saved them to pass along to someone else.
Maybe I’ll draw a picture and bury it, along with a story, in a time capsule. Or a geocache. Because this is not about leaving a legacy – it’s about weaving a tiny thread or two into history. A tiny purple thread in a history that’s never known purple. The idea isn’t lofty, at all; it’s almost mischievous.