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The other day I searched for someone who died decades ago, and found nothing. No obituary, no images, nothing. Then I looked for the book I made about him, and that, I found. He looked so young in the few photos in it, and somehow this surprised me, as if wait, but what does he look like now?
I sat there thinking how weird it would be if I’d opened up this book of memories and photos and old movie tickets and old notes –everything in the book is both old but young—and somehow found a photo of him as he would be now, if he’d lived. What would he look like? Would we still know each other? If we had fallen out of touch, and decades later ran into each other in an airport or on the street, would he even recognize me? Would the young me even recognize the me I am now?
Voices Over Water, by W. S. Merwin
There are spirits that come back to us
when we have grown into another age
we recognize them just as they leave us
we remember them when we cannot hear them
some of them come from the bodies of birds
some arrive unnoticed like forgetting
they do not recall earlier lives
and there are distant voices still hoping to find us