I’d been putting off the task for too long, so I dumped the pile onto my sofa and began to sift. There were several months of receipts, notes to myself, grocery lists, baggage claim checks, and ticket stubs. I felt my life passing before my eyes, and it was moving too quickly. We live inside a moving picture and rarely see the single frames, the stills. I had to stop. And then I had to cry, but just for a little bit. It is beautiful, this life. It is difficult to look back on it all and realize that even if it were possible to be completely present in each and every moment, there would be no way to hold on to it all. So much had been accumulated in just a few months. Too much, and all of the years before, and it just keeps growing. I wouldn’t want it any other way, but where will I keep it all? I started feeling sentimental about train tickets and lists on small pieces of torn paper. They are my triggers, they take me back in time.
As I read Just Kids and accompanied Patti Smith on her walk through the last forty or so years of her life I knew I was being moved in ways not yet clear to me. This must be part one.
In all the world one may always hope to recapture something lost. But sometimes we are obliged to set the memory of certain things in a dresser of small regrets. Yet occasionally we discover in the folds of an old handkerchief a shell or insignificant stone that had once embodied our happiest of afternoons.
-Patti Smith Just Kids