Leavers Keepers

I believe a life is meant to be lived. Then left behind. I believe people begin scattering themselves from the day they are born. And they continue with it through their lives.

Smells and secretions leave our bodies and enter our clothes. From the clothes they enter water and air. Sensations are carried around through touch. Shake-hands, caresses, kisses—slaps and pinches too—we leave behind for others to feel.

And feelings ride out of us on harnesses of words. Those too complex to be said or written down, squeeze out of us as gestures and expressions.

Our fears, our dreams, our hates and loves we leave behind as impressions on life's invisible canvas.

We leave behind photographs as witnesses to moments. We also leave behind memories on paper, film, tape and microchip.

We leave behind our DNA with our children, sometimes in the vainglorious hope of a genetic resurrection.

We make food, art, architecture and leave them behind for others to savour and delight in.

So what is it that dies when we die? What perishes when we perish? What disappears when we disappear?

Our flesh and bones are left behind. As ash, as dust and food in the stomachs of creatures tinier than us. Our souls too go somewhere. Heaven or hell or brand new bodies. Atheists and rationalists, I guess, go back to their books, as silverfish.

I believe a life lived well is one where leaving becomes a source of great joy.


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