Sunday, 24 May 2009

Death of a Little Black Flying Thing........... :o(

I was just sat here in the sunny garden, reading Jeremy Clarkson's book “For Crying Out Loud”, and a Little Black Flying Thing you could hardly see landed on the page. I brushed it off, and quite unintentionally killed it. It died quite horribly………… well, on its own scale, it was quite horrible, but at least it was quick I guess. The poor little blighter left a green smear about 15mm long and 2mm wide on page fifty-one, the only trace remaining that it had ever lived at all.

It got me thinking, partly out of respect, and partly from regret that I had carelessly snuffed the life from it………. I know not whether it was a he or a she, so have regrettably to refer to it as ‘it’.

The Thinking led to consideration of how little most of us leave behind as a trace that we ever were.

(Brace yourself, dear reader, we’re going in,………. As in ‘In Real Deep’)

That Little Black Flying Thing, (Which was black on the outside, and thus as far as the inverse insect world is concerned, not one of a minority group.), at least left a mark on page 51 of my book, which will forever remain as a reminder of its Last Day Flying.

I will, in all probability, remember the moment for at least Quite Some Time, and will hereafter refer to this book as the ‘Memorial Edition’. I’m like that; I remember the detail of life, commonly regarded by most successful people as unimportant. Pity about the Big Stuff, more commonly regarded as important, and which I pay little heed to then, isn’t it?

That nearly leads me down another track of tangled thought, so I’ll get back to the subject that was in mind…………. How little remains of us when we’re gone.

I guess the most long lasting evidence for most of us is perhaps a headstone in a churchyard. It may be something quirky enough, and perhaps with a similarly quirky inscription, to catch the eye of someone wandering through the graves. It may make them stop and wonder of the life that boiled down to those few words, before moving on to continue weaving their own life-tapestry, having soon forgotten what they saw there. Most likely it will be a small, comittee-designed, standard issue, Politically Correct marker in the grounds of a faceless crematorium, individuality being snuffed out by the controlling will of the faceless weenies. It may be a small and oh-so-tastefully-discrete-flat-on-the-ground marker of the life it represents, and also easily grown over until it can never be found again without a shovel.

Family photographs will maybe remain floating about for several generations, although diluted amongst it’s numbers of inherited keepers, and long since lost in dark boxes and drawers. The stories that accompanied them will soon be forgotten, as will the names and position in the family hierarchy. Inherited possessions too will wither as they are handed down or lost completely through loss, breakage, sale, .......... or worse, .......... simply thrown away.

Modern photographs, now taken digitally and mostly never printed, will last not even half a generation now, and those that do will be lost amongst thousands of others on hard drives, or discs, never to be looked at again. The boxes of photographs that many have, are already a passing tradition thanks to this digital medium which, quite ironically, has made recording the past easier and cheaper than it ever has been in history. Maybe that proves a theory, that the easier and cheaper anything is, the less permanent or valued it becomes?

Those lucky enough to have had the gist of their lives recorded in the written word will have their stories preserved perhaps for a thousand years or more, but they are the very fewest of us all.

Both my Father and Stepfather, both gone some eighteen years ago now, have little left already to mark their lives. My Stepfather’s laid-flat, tiny grave marker has long since grown over, much to my shame. Many living close by him, and one in particular, swore to keep his grave tended, and I for one never expected it to have gown over so quickly, nor how easily I could forget it’s exact position. I shouldn’t have trusted the word of those who promised they would keep it tended I guess.

I keep some mementos of both of them close by and always visible in the house in areas I sit or stand, and from time to time handle, use, or find one of the few of their tools I inherited. They were the diminishing generation of men who made, repaired and modified things in their garages and workshops, and the wear on those tools linger like an echo of their toil, skill and efforts. I think of them often, but when I’m gone so too will they be gone. No one else knows the stories they told me, my Father in particular, and I have been meaning to write their stories down. Those stories to at least hand on to my only niece in the hope it will mean something to her, but knowing it probably won’t.

We all, even the most mundane of us, have led complicated and different lives, and it all goes out like a light on our passing, just like my Little Black Flying Thing this morning. I guess, the scale of things being taken into account, its green smear of life’s juices spilt, and these thoughts, written and then sent out there in this blog, is the equivalent of a funeral with full military honours to accompany it.

Has anyone ever squidged something so small and most common, and yet thought of it so deeply? Probably very few in the history of the written word. :o)

So, dear Little Black Flying Thing, I salute you, your tiny life, and all it meant to those around you (sniff), and will remember that you remain forever, a green smear on page fifty-one……………

K.x :o)

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