Friday, February 11, 2011

Pressed in a book

If you were walking on a lonely path, and you saw a leaf among the litter, rare and precious, would you pick it up? Would you take it home and press it in a book, so that you could keep it?

But wouldn't its colour fade, and everything that made it lovely leach away, so that in time all that you had pressed in your book was the memory of beauty, the idea of the living leaf? And what if you were to forget your leaf, put the book back on the shelf and never think that you had captured the moment you saw a beautiful leaf within it? What if your children, or their children, or someone else's children's children even, sorting through your books, let the leaf flutter to the ground, so that once more it was just litter, undesired?

You could just walk by, let the moment rest there, the warm sun, the smell of eucalypts, the sound of birds calling to each other, whispering songs of love and alarms to let each other know that you are lumbering through the woods.

You could just let it lie, never disturb it, as it faded.

But when you see a star, don't you wish on it?

***

Last night, Naughtyman called me into his room. Look, he said, at that gecko hanging. I took a look. A gecko had another by the tail, and it swung gently, unable to find anywhere to put its feet.

I think they're courting, I said, although I'm not sure that that's how geckoes court. It just seemed to make sense, because why else would a gecko dangle another by the tail?

And why would they do that? Why would a gecko like to swing powerless in the breeze? Well, we know, don't we? But I couldn't tell Naughtyman why, because he's going to have to find out for himself what it's like to be swinging in midair, no longer the master of his own fate, helpless and dependent.

But we know, if we have ever lived.

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