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  • I used to have a treasure box, a place I kept little odds and ends of my life that had special meaning. A seashell, a ticket stub, a funny-shaped rock, a corner of a page from a phone book used in Cayucos, other bits of effluvium that I could pick up, warm with my touch, and be transported back to a very specific time, a very specific place, a very specific emotion.

    Somewhere and somewhen along the line, my treasure box was misplaced. Or discarded in an attempt to break from the past. Or perhaps it just disappeared, like magic. I never designated a new one, so I've very much been without a collection of treasures for many years.

    Yesterday, my daughter gave me a tiny acorn from the towering oak that lords over our backyard -- a little brown nut with a jauntily bent stem. She called it a baby tree as she carefully placed it in my cupped hand, looking at me with surprisingly wise eyes that conveyed the message that the little thing was important and that I needed to take my job as acorn-keeper very seriously. Then, she blinked, and the look was gone; she was just my fey little child with a dancing-kite sense of humor who had given her mother something interesting she had found. It had lost its importance to her, but not to me.

    So the acorn is sitting on my desk, by my keyboard, and I'm being very careful with it because until I find a new treasure box to put it in, it's vulnerable to time, to forgetting.
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