Within the Elephants Trunk I browsed through aisles of donations given by invisible souls, music and clothes and the occasional stacks of dishes, things my grandmother may have once owned, stacked lovingly by hands priced to sell. I came to the back corner where stacks of books lay, separated into categories, not needing anything yet just looking , an old photo on the cover of a paperback drew me in. Her name was Liz, or so the book said and for a dollar and a quarter, I took a quick glance, seeing it was poetry about the thirties, the year, not her age and I walked up to the checkout with my sole purchase. As I began to leave, a steady rain began to fall. Beyond the window of my car I watched as I breathed in the scent…it had been too long since the rain fell here and it was so very welcome. I covered the book to protect it from the rain, patting the cover and not knowing when I’d get a chance to dive in, but happy I had bought it.
Today I began my journey into the pages of this woman’s life, seeing her memories through an woman’s eyes. She had lived in Massachusetts during the depression, and I began losing myself in the beauty of her words, as if she were telling me a story of what it was to be her. Each sentence gave my heart a thrill, for it was words that through simplicity, reached into my soul and the beauty within each page left me turning back and forth, searching deeper for more. I read for about an hour, filled with fear as I waited for the pain of the day I knew was to come, sitting in the waiting room of my dentist, a tooth soon to depart my jaw, and I found myself at such peace, holding this book, as if I were living her life. It was a book that came out in 2000. The poet was seventy five then and I wondered what had happened to this strong and amazing author, was she still alive I wondered and why did I pick that particular book out of the stacks that had now touched me so deeply.
At the end of her written works, I sat looking at the pictures of her children and grandchildren and I felt as if I knew her, or at least what she allowed to be known. She ultimately ended up by the sea she said, next to the Gulf of Mexico near the palm trees in a city called Venice. It was then that I knew that perhaps, somewhere around here she lives, here in my new home town, and if she were now gone, perhaps her ghost drew me to find her story. How sad it would be, if she became just another soul, who upon passing, had her belongings swept up into tattered cardboard boxes and donated to the Trunk. I then wonder if someday when I’m gone, having no children myself, I wonder what will happen to my books, my poems, will there be a young woman in a thrift store, carrying home My story in her hands, eager for escape and a glimpse into another’s yesterday. I can only hope so, and I pray it is enjoyed and brings solace and peace on a day that isn’t so perfect for someone who was helped in healing by my simple words.