lingering on object permanence during childhood development

by Bill Graham, Asst. Editor GraciousRoots

I’m pretty sure I lingered too long on object permanence during childhood development – almost certainly at the expense of several other necessities – and it has haunted me to this day.

As a little guy, I was preoccupied with that famous flag the astronauts left on the moon, perched there in the eternal dust, unaware of the chaotic planet swirling down below. (I was also sure that I’d be able to see it with the tabletop telescope Santa owed me, and I was left bitterly disappointed on that).

Another example: in high school, I’d step to the free throw line, and, to block out crowd noise, I’d close my eyes and picture the granite alongside my favorite swimming hole, in the starlight, still warm from the sun, there for the millennia and with no plans to go anywhere and completely indifferent to my plight in a small, sweaty gym in Sylva. Then I’d open my eyes and calmly brick the foul shot.

More recently I sat in a third-floor window of a restaurant in Charleston, looking down on King Street, and I noticed an iron flagpole bracket outside the glass, affixed to the wall a couple of centuries back, and long since forgotten. How many parades had it seen? What flags had it held? Could it see Sumter from its vantage point? So many questions.

Anyway, here’s a window handle tucked away in Sylva, NC corroded shut long ago. During every single triumph or tragedy of your life, no matter how much pain or pleasure you felt, this window handle looked more or less exactly like this.

window handle.jpg