Years ago, I lost a purple glove at the supermarket. I had removed it to pull out my shopping list and when I got to the checkout, well, there was only one glove keeping my potatoes and yogurts company. Despite backtracking and asking, no one had seen a single glove of any kind looking for its owner. Try as I might I still can’t figure out what anyone would want with just one purple glove.
One never does seem to lose gloves in pairs. At home, I pull out my glove drawer and it is overflowing with poor lost gloves, missing their companions. I can’t bear to throw them out for sometimes a single glove is just what we are looking for when the “mouse” hand at the computer starts to feel cold.
Not sure how the three little kittens managed to lose all their mittens. At least, they found them again, so can you call something lost, if you are able to find it in a matter of hours or even days? Yet what does one mean by “lose”? Often it is just a matter of misplacing an object for we know it must be around somewhere. Often we can “see” exactly where it was – perhaps a month ago, before we decided to put it elsewhere. Can we say it is lost? Are we talking about a temporary or a permanent loss? A material loss, such as that glove, or an immaterial loss?
Things one tends to lose, aside from gloves, are keys. Followed closely by eyeglasses and rings. You can lose a glove, but you still know what it looked like, what it felt like. You can lose a wedding ring, but not what it stands for. Sometimes losing something can be a subconscious sign that what you lost no longer signifies what it once did. Or at least that you wish it weren’t still around.
A dear friend of mine often “lost” her keys. Or perhaps misplaced would be a better term. She had a secret for finding them again, for she would turn to Saint Anthony for help. “Dear St. Anthony, please come around: something is lost, and it cannot be found.” It generally worked. Saint Anthony seems to be the patron saint of lost things. I’m not quite sure how she reconciled a Christian saint with her religion, for she was Jewish. Anthony Abbot is not only the right person to turn to when something is missing. He is also the saint of animals and is often depicted with a small pig at his feet. Since the monks were also known to treat Herpes Zoster or shingles, known in Italian as Fuoco di Sant Antonio (how much more poetical, St. Anthony’s fire), with a salve made from pig’s fat. Perhaps, the prohibition for Jews was limited to eating pork.
Apparently, the internet is full of entries regarding “lost and found”. Particularly pertinent is one by Kathryn Schulz, for she seeks out the origins of the concept of “to lose”, related, as she says, to sorrow and the “lorn” in forlorn, as well as to the idea of separating.
We can lose countless things other than keys. I can say I have lost sleep, my temper, my voice. I have lost words, perhaps the most frightening of all. For without the ability to express oneself and communicate we feel lost. I can lose the place in my book. And I have lost friends. Some I know I can recover, but some are truly lost, are gone forever. Yet perhaps they are not. For they continue to exist in the universe of my mind as long as I exist.
5 thoughts on “Lost and Found”
Brilliant and charming as usual Erika!
Ah, losing things … one of those threads that run through a life, like the roads not taken … how everything would be different if certain things had not been lost! I wonder whether St Anthony has some kind of Elysian algorithm to help him decide when to find something and when to say no, that’s better lost. I hope so! And I like the fact that your Jewish friend has confidence in him.
I’ve just found a relevant story in The Times, Erika. A child’s leather shoe has been found in river mud in Kent (south east England) and carbon-dated to the Bronze Age: more narrowly from 888 to 781 BCE. Just the one shoe. So we can let our imaginations run with different explanations and scenarios.
That would have been an excellent juping off place (shoes or not) for the subject. Could be really intriguing. Inspiration. Thank you.
Those small details, lapses in a minute or less, may change the course of what comes after. Like Mark Twain and how a scenario changes because one had to return to close a shutter. Losing an object, lising s second, and the world changes.
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We ALWAYS invoke St. Anthony when we lose things! It works, but you have to pay him / light a cand