I have been twenty years at this rockface, chipping away year on year, searching for treasures that come to light every now and again and which cumulatively add up to the fulfilled, contented existence I live today. I am not alone. I am guided to certain places and given different tools to use on a regular basis. A lot of these come to me through found objects.
Sometimes they are practical, like the smart bottle green wool rug that I found on the pavement outside my gate a few days after I collected Tottie from the Dog’s Home. Or the umbrella plant that I found on a skip and brought home to nurture back to health that has given me years of pleasure. Or the silky cushion I found when I needed one for my aching back. And books, loads of books that have come to hand, just as I needed the information contained in them to move myself forward.
It is not so much the objects themselves that are important but the feeling that they provoke in my body when I come across them. It is a kind of excitement, a sense of connection and a wash of hope; all at the same time. I refer to it as ‘a hit’ and I love it because it has replaced a Hardy-esque feeling of isolation, with an almost religious certainty about being part of a greater scheme and having a (albeit modest) part to play in that scheme. I should point out that it is not religious feeling-more spiritual and that there is a subtle but important distinction between the two that I wont go into here.
If I get such a frisson of meaning from found objects, I can only deduce that there is something that I lost back there on the road. Often I have stood at a porthole to the fifth dimension and wondered at the view I get of the place where and/or exist as one. This is a place where one’s experiences are refracted with new meaning. A place where a couple of two pound Royal Worcester plates or an old book of Medici prints whisper ‘You are loved. Look what you have been sent to show you how much.”
Salvation often came to me in the winter gloom of the Oxfam Bookshop in the Village. Then suddenly the portal closed and since that moment I’ve not had one hit there. The power is mischievous, like a will o’ the wisp. Wherever it pops up it is a surprise and I give praise. Once I was lost but now am found. Profound words and not mine. That’s the feeling.
I have been reflecting of late on the subject of fate and destiny and the distinction between the two. This afternoon, while walking Tottie I was distracted from my intended trajectory by her desire to have a shit. I bagged it and walked to the dog bin, thus avoiding a face-on collision with The Boy, hand in hand with his new woman. This almost certainly was fate, helping me in my resolve to erase him totally from my life, while leaving the memories sweet. Destiny is what is predetermined ahead of me, which may or may not be a journeyman tapping his fingers and toes, waiting for me to catch up. If that’s not my destiny, it could be one of a hundred variations on the theme of life, all or any leading to my one sure destiny, death.
Some time ago, on my destined road, I found a Chinese penny glittering in the sun. I picked it up and pocketed it, ‘finders keepers’ being my motto. Later that day I came across a copy of the I Ching in the Oxfam bookshop. How serendipitous! So began a radically new relationship with life. Fate placed the I Ching in my way; it was my destiny to pick it up and incorporate its wisdom in my life.
Today I have just finished reading a potboiler called The Rule of Four. The four in the title being the four directions (north,south,east and west)which decode a cypher that will identify an underground cellar containing a whole bunch of Renaissance artifacts. It was not a good literary experience, but it got me thinking about another rule of four, the one that leads to 64 (4cubed or 4x4x4) This number being the link between the hexagrams of the I Ching and the number of codons in DNA. Now there’s a mystery worth turning pages for. Too bad I’m too busy enjoying life to write it.