There are just so many things that get laid to the side. And later on, these things are sometimes seen. Sometimes, they are nothing besides an old toothbrush stashed in a closet, or a drawer, or a little forgotten travel bag that was used by a guest once or twice. Sometimes they are eighth grade papers that were written for a science teacher in a white lab coat. (The handwriting when such things turn up is mostly remembered.) Sometimes they are packets of photographs—remembered like all the mis-direction in life shot off like a handful of bottle rockets. A tiny, and now crusty brass dish from North Africa. A root carved into a limbless human form from Jamaica. A World War II vet’s wallet found on the sidewalk and never returned.
Later on still, these things that were laid to the side turn out to be more like lengths of trees whose trunks were half-sawn through in eight or nine cuts for future firewood, but were abandoned forever in the woods when the chain grew dull. Sometimes, a letter written with good intent, dated, but never sent sitting on a shelf under spent cartridges of toner, unused color photocopy paper, and obsolete technical gear that seemed useful at the time. Overall, these things can acquire their own unmistaken beauty the way a wooden fence does after its unstained pickets have been weathered for more than a dozen years somewhere along the roadside.