Part of a letter I wrote to my friend Will today:
I love ephemera–as much as you do, I think, and for the same kinds of reasons. It’s as if we walk our lives through a heavy, debris-laden wind that leans us forward, bows our heads against its force, so that we can hardly tell where it is we’re finally going. Even so, we keep our eyes squinted open, our fingers poised, ready to grab at whatever fragment of life we might notice flying by, anything viable, readable, anything with a heartbeat, anything that isn’t merely dust. We grab at each little shard of paper or thread or somebody’s tossed-away keepsake. Clutching to contain it, we study it from every angle, view it through each lens, put it through x-ray machines, decoders, translators, machines that test for DNA and carbon-dating. We compare and combine it with our other fragments–our modest collection of worn-out, tattered, wind-stolen things. Finally we catalog and curate our new find, then tuck it away like a kitten beneath our coats to keep it, and us, alive and warm.
We could have been archaeologists, I think. Well, except for the part with the kitten. That doesn’t quite go, I guess… Okay, then: We could have been collectors of lost souls.