Yesterday I lost a dog leash in the woods. What’s the big deal?
I took my friend Kevin who was visiting, on one of my specialty semi brutal hikes, a near 7 mile bushwack, up the top of the mountain we see from my house. We were working our way around a steep section, the quote/unquote trail a long time gone, following elk tracks and my best guess for a route upward.
I realized than I had put Felix’s leash down somewhere and did not pick it up. Up here in the woods, he gets to run free.
It’s just a leash. Not worth going back for.
Well, not any leash. It was the one I had from my last dog, Mickey, a labrador retriever who left this world in 2004. The dog that was my icon everywhere, later tattooed on my arm, the one named for my Dad who was dying from cancer they year I got him. The one who broke my heart when it turned out he was violently aggressive towards small dogs.
Not just any leash…
The caption on this photo, from January 28, 2014 is a bit prophetic:
The speculations could go on about why I keep a least from the dog I put down more than 10 years ago. How can I forget the last time he wore it?
It’s in good shape. It is suitable for another dog.
I was pretty sure I set it down at our first stop, the place where the small jeep track split off from a slightly different one. I walked there today… and did not find the leash. I went further up the steep track, thinking it was at the second spot I remember us stopping.
I had to admit defeat for today.
It’s just a leash. But objects are strong memory triggers. I spend more than enough time taking photos and writing stories of the objects I own, some from my parents, Dad’s level, Mom’s clowns, my grandfather’s chess set.
These things have signficant meaning to me.
But obviously, there’s no meaning in the objects themselves. A leash in the woods is just a leash in the woods. It’s we who give, share, tell, retell the stories of of the objects, we give it meaning. Or try to.
The objects, my dog’s leash, has no story without me.
But… without the object, I still have my story. I have other objects, storied too, like Mickey’s collar.
All of this is weaving a connection to the new Networked Narratives course I am teaching (web site updates soon) (like very very soon). The overall arching theme is asking everyone to think about, create about, and know about “This Digital Life”.
So do digital objects convey the same dynamic as these physical ones?