For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.
One of the shortest novels in history, six words, attributed to Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) is, of course, all about these last two words: Never worn.
As I arranged some dried autumn leaves I collected earlier in the forest, the sun rose from behind the houses and suddenly, as a bright flame, hit one of the three Song bowls on the table.
Found in a shipwreck near the coast of Indonesia, the bowls date from the 11th century. Eroded by the sea but originally glazed and without decoration besides some fine lines, they were destined to a humble purpose in a monastery. Destined to be held as a rice bowl in the hands of Chinese Buddhist monks.
I had bought these bowls a while ago, put them on the table and left them as they were, unused.
But then summer came with a heat wave. In order to create some coolness I hang a large cloth of blue silk in between the open garden doors to flutter in a breeze, poured cold water into the bowls and added blue garden flowers.
I did hesitate but once filled with water there was no way back. It was irreversible. Unused for almost a thousand years but I changed all that. The destiny of the bowls had been changed, just as it had been changed the moment the ship sank in a storm.
I could have just enjoyed looking at the bowls, touch them, use them in a story. Apparently I couldn’t just let it be. A gardener’s habit, I guess. And as I have changed the course of things already I ended up putting autumn in a bowl. I might even put winter in it. Or spring.
No rice though, I can’t pretend nothing happened, can I?
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