"So there are Oliphaunts. But no one at home will ever believe me."
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Never the same memory twice

Moving. The house itself is mostly packed. Large items remain—those will remain until we get a moving truck over there for the final push—and lots of small things, minutiae, detritus, forgettable, losable, unmemorious things. Countless books, here and there, and more toys than you can imagine.

Cleaning in a corner I unearthed a small, cheap rubber toy designed to suggest the Space Shuttle without actually bothering to reproduce any of its distinguishing characteristics. Name? Why, it could be any of’em. Flag? Well, we want it to sell in any country, that just wouldn’t do. Not the Space Shuttle, but an eidolon.

We are struggling to use the opportunity of moving the household to reduce and simplify. We have too much for how often we must move. So I knew it had to go as soon as I saw it; was certain as I put the toy in my hand. In the handling of the thing I nearly—how to put this?—inhaled memory from it, as though contact had rendered me a sensitized conductor to the charge of joy and wonder and glee that excited little fists had invested in it. That cheap little toy was, briefly, the biggest toy in the world; they all are, for a little bit. I remember when it flew about the house on its masters’ missions. I don’t remember when it came, from where, or when it was retired, or if its loss was much lamented.

I wanted to save it, to recapture the times slipped out and see them lived again. Impossible. You cannot taste the young wine once it has aged. Wine is a store not just of grapes but of time, and the wine maker’s life from the time he puts his labor into it until the time it is shared. You drink it and remember when it was made, and note how much it has changed since a tasting anchored to some event or season, while what you are doing at the drinking shapes its flavor in your mouth and your recollection of previous glasses (over dinner? By yourself, with a book? With friends and hot grill?) These little knickknacks and treasured bric-a-brac store captured moments that can be uncorked and enjoyed, yet they change with perspective and time, perhaps maturing when they are put away, perhaps going stale when they are experienced, so that you can savor the memories, but never the same memory twice.

It’s gone now, but safe, here.