I do a lot of reading and this morning noted the following quote in my commonplace book. It is taken from Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, and reflects some of the sentiment behind my penchant for documenting (see Discovering Logbooks). Jahren is reflecting back on the memory of a spruce tree that grew just outside her bedroom window throughout her childhood and adolescent years. She's just learned the tree has died and has had to be taken down.
"Time has also changed me, my perception of my tree, and my perception of my tree's perception of itself. Science has taught me that everything is more complicated than we first assume, and that being able to derive happiness from discovery is a recipe for a beautiful life. It has also convinced me that carefully writing everything down is the only real defense we have against forgetting something important that once was and is no more, including the spruce tree that should have outlived me but did not."
It's the taking note, the paying attention to the small things, which may seem insignificant now or in the whirl of the events of everyday life. But we can't know, can we, what will come to be important....either to ourselves in later years, or to historians or the next generation looking back? I think about the huge gaps we are creating in the record of our collective days, as so much of our lives is lived online. We no longer write letters to one another on paper, diaries seem to be a quaint relic of a bygone are and the very busy lives we live result in little documentation that is tangible.
The little book above, The Book of Disappearing Wisdom, is new to my shop and is a reflection of these thoughts....tiny dots that resemble writing line the pages and clusters of colored dots seem to move across and through and then disappear. We think we are wise, but I suspect generation after generation spends much of its time learning the lessons of their ancestors. Much is gained by the progress we make, but much is lost and there is a certain ambiguity that fills our days.
Thanks for taking the time to slow down and read these posts! Enjoy your weekend....cheers!