Box of Whale

I was laying down on the floor next to my son's bed the other night,willing (okay, mentally begging) him to sleep.  As I lay there, I turned my head distractedly and looked around.  My eyes rested on an old cardboard box that was holding odds and sods in the kids' closet.  On the side of the box, it said: "50 lbs. WHALE MEAT". Reading the label startled me.  The box had come from the village where we had lived for 7 years before moving to the city 3 years ago.  The coastal village had one of the last remaining whaling stations in North America and it was closed down in the early 70s.   The box had contained some old books that we had gotten from some friends who still live there, so I can trace back its origins more or less, but it still stopped me in my tracks.  What struck me was that in a 2012 world where what this box once contained is now widely considered morally off limits to box up and distribute, the box itself was still quietly sitting here for the past 3 years (and elsewhere for many more before that).  It continues to function perfectly well as a holder of things.  It once was a holder of whale and now it has been thrown under a pile of Polly Pockets and holds toys that have missing parts. This box that had a function in a past that is no longer even remotely imaginable by my generation has been sitting in our midst all this time.



I often think of that movie the Red Violin and all the different people who possessed it over time and I keep wondering about all the things that pass through my hands.   Where are they headed next? How ridiculous will they seem to their next owner? How quaint or horrific?

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