Thursday, January 1, 2015

Things ephemeral

One of the words that rears its head in the Archivelands is ephemera.  The word is always accompanied by a bit of a challenge.  How does one categorize something or store something that is meant to serve the experience of a particular day and/or time.  It can be something that is meant to last for only a short time.  It can be a record that helps to define cultural, historical, personal, or political context.  It can be forgotten because it may not have a sort of historical heft to it.

The program for a memorial service or a wedding use that bit of paper to tell what's about to happen.  I think they are more likely to be tossed than saved.  It is a form of ephemera.  Papel picado can be created for particular day and time.  A bouquet might thought of as a bit of ephemera.  The design of the bouquet tells so much about the time when it was created.  Storing it can be a bear.

Our grand daughters making a village of gingerbread and then eating it was a study in ephemera.  The Gingerbread Village was an expression of creativity and time shared as a family.  There was a narrative to the set up of the village and the experiences of those who "peopled" it.  It was meant to last for an evening and then was to be eaten with great relish.  It will have meaning to those of us who helped them make it and to those who helped them demolish it.  Seeing a picture will keep it clearer in our mind for a longer period of time .  Without the picture we're likely to forget, but that doesn't mean the experience didn't take place or that it didn't have meaning.

I think about this and because I, along with my kith and kin, have lived through a cancer chapter.  The end of the year is a time when one may reflect on things mortal and immortal.  Won't write more about what that might mean because like all things ephemeral it will have meaning and resonance for different people in different ways.

If I am lucky this experience will become a memory and will gradually need an image or a phrase to trigger that memory.  Life will go on and the chapter will take less and less space in my life's story.  A visit to the oncologist or a question from a friend will bring the chapter back to mind; then, it will be back to life as usual.

I'll end 2014 and begin 2015 by sharing something I zoomed by on Facebook.  I offer this as a point of departure - imagine your own little strips for those things that were most meaningful or needed by you in the last year and those things which you hope to give and get in the New Year.

This would be much easier to store than the bouquet but would be a fun bit of ephemera to keep.

See you around.