16 Feb

Text and image by Rick McVicar             

     This essay was written while participating in the 614 Writers Community weekly meeting in Worthington, Ohio, Feb. 15.             

     Have you lost any time today looking for keys?             

     “Mother, mother, we’re running late for school!”             

     “Then help me find my car keys! They must be here somewhere.”             

     “Dorothy, not again. What’s wrong with your?” Dad would yell.             

     My mother losing her car keys was an everyday ritual when I was growing up. She lost them so much that her forgetfulness appeared deliberate. Looking for my mother’s keys seemed like a well thought-out training drill. 

     I always wondered if my mother's lost keys were for preparing her sons for the world.

     Preparation for lostness. Preparation for bewilderment. Preparation for long frustrating searches. Perhaps for alleviating the concerns of someone else’s lostness.             

     I think the poet Elizabeth Bishop, in her poem, “One Art,” is on to something when she writes, “The art of losing is not hard to master.” Becoming comfortable at losing is an art and it is easy to master if you have a mother who loses her keys a lot.  

     Bishop goes on to write, “Accept the fluster of lost door keys.” Believe me, I am well acquainted with that fluster. Now that I’ve grown older, l am becoming acquainted with my own daily loss of door keys. The lost time occasionally keeps me from catching my bus. The number of hours in my life searching for keys is adding up exponentially. 

     In Bishop’s poem, the words “loss” and “lost” are intermingled, as if to experience loss is to be lost. I am not so sure. Maybe to experience loss is a way to be found, found in genuine humanity, found in the depths of despair, found in a universal emotion felt throughout the human race. 

     As you search for either something lost, whether mundane or something profound, may you have artful health along the way.

A yellow swirling oval beneath a tree branch.

        Title: Lost Bearings. Click on image to view trance music video on YouTube.

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