Embracing the tiny, Day 9: Temporary housing

an aladdin-lamp-shaped object

My grandparents had a love of tiny things: figurines, jewelry, grandchildren.

There was a menagerie I especially treasured, artfully fashioned of bronze and iron and brass, collected in the course of their worldly travels, in those days before you could go online and order anything from anywhere, instantly. We would look at each animal one by one, and once I could be trusted not to pop them in my mouth, I was allowed to hold them.

My very favorite tiny object was not an animal, however, but a small, genie-in-a-bottle-shaped curio that unscrewed into pieces: at the top, a whistle; in the center, a salt shaker; at the bottom, a miniscule compartment that would hold exactly one, very small pill—Poison!, my gramps would whisper, gleefully, for spies! And at the very, very bottom, an insignia, which the owner could use to stamp his initials in sealing wax. (Which is also how I learned about sealing wax.)

It is small enough not to matter, so I stay alert to ways that ensure it will. I have moved it from city to city, from nook to nook, like my own game of Traveling Garden Gnome. Recently, I was delighted to discover that it fit exactly perfectly between the second “L” and first “E” of a wood rendering of my first name that has also been in my possession a long, long time, and that I cannot bring myself to release just yet. So they sit nestled together now, making each other newly relevant and interesting, earning their keep in my life for a while longer.

But only a while. Because as all things passed down to me from other people and times and places are there to remind me, no thing is forever.

xxx
c

This is Day 9 of a 21-day series. For more scoop on the who/what/why, go here.

3 comments

  1. Colleen,
    What a cherished, multi-functioned, rare object with a great story that I will remember. As I read “Poison” I saw the scene unfold. Again, I smiled big and loud sitting in the coffee shop reading your posts. Thanks for brightening my day, again.

  2. Your focus on the small somehow has my feet on the ground once again, my friend. My mind quiets as I’m reading these posts. My breathing slows and I see. Thanks for that. So much soul and story packed into these cherished items.

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