Monday, April 5, 2010

Of Horcruxes and History...

I’m not sure how exactly it came about… perhaps all these new commercials about the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter about to open in Orlando…

In any case, I’ve been thinking about Horcruxes today. Not the technical sort, as described in the Harry Potter Wikipedia (They have one of those, you know. Isn’t that fabulous?)

No, I’ve been thinking about the human factor in a horcrux.

As is the case with nearly all of the fantasy books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in my life, there is always some very human factor buried deep in the foundation of an imagined magic.

A horcrux, in a fantastical nutshell, (no pun intended) is created when a person experiences such a horridly traumatic event, that they are able to tear a piece of their soul off and store it in a worldly object in order to achieve immortality.

That happens to us here in the real world, you know.

Unlike the fantasy, we don’t have to commit murder to tear our souls, and we certainly wouldn’t bring such a tribulation upon ourselves in order to achieve immortality…

…but we DO experience such traumatic events during the course of our short lives, that a piece of our soul is torn, or stolen from us.

This tearing of the soul is a different experience for all of us.

Some of us loose a lover, or a friend, and in enduring the grief that comes with that passing, find a piece of our soul has been left behind.

Some of us loose a freedom, or miss a rite of passage… and enduring that, find a piece of our soul has been left behind.

Either way, those very real pieces of souls left behind don’t just drift off into eternity unnoticed…

… The Diary of Anne Frank

… King Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus

… The Winchester mansion

… The Stonewall Inn

… The Bois Chenu Basilica in Domremy

These are all examples of objects or places that carry the very essence of a single person, or a collective group of souls.

Would you be so moved by historical objects or landmarks if they were not attached to the irrepressible souls of the people who once inhabited them?

Would the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel be so magnificent if they were not the mysterious legacies of under appreciated and eccentric men who inadvertently altered and defined our perception of an entire time period?

Today, I am thinking about the beautiful souls I have had to part with in my life. There is still a piece of each of them that lingers in the objects they have left in their absence.

A camera strap that bore the weight of one young woman’s sobriety and only true passion.

A collection of blogs that may be the only truths one young woman ever told.

A worn out pair of stuffed animals, purchased in an airport 34 years ago, that defined a mother’s one true love.

A faded photograph of a smiling, angelic face, that defined the last joyous moment we would ever know in a little boy’s life that was cut short FAR too soon.

These are the obvious pieces that I carry around with me every day.

But what about the missing pieces of the people we haven’t left behind?

The increasingly forced and painfully empty smile on the face of a man you have called ‘father’ every day of your life.

The trash can full of empty bottles that a big brother has secretly discarded after a lifetime defined by sobriety.

The stunning reclusiveness and self-doubt of a woman who gave you the strength and courage to finally find, and define yourself.

These real life horcruxes aren’t the result of the exaggerated fantasies a single mother birthed to create a better life for herself.

These are the things we didn’t notice when we had the chance, not by our own fault, but because we were never afforded the opportunity.

These are the objects we pick up when no one is looking and fall to our knees to find a way to fix.

These are the things we think about when we tuck ourselves in at night… somewhere between states of consciousness.

This isn’t fantasy… but I truly believe there is a hero in all of us.

Those long lost artifacts that define our history and humanity weren’t left behind in vain. They were left behind to teach us a lesson.

To notice the pieces of ourselves and our loved ones that have been left behind.

To see, with new eyes, the holes we have ignored for far too long.

To find a WAY to help patch one another up… and in the process, find a patch for our own missing pieces.

Maybe today is the day to start reading, and believing… in fairytales.

When our children and our children’s children pick up the next generation’s ‘Harry Potter” … maybe they will be reading about the changes that YOU will decide to start making TODAY.

Just an over-processed thought… but maybe my change starts with sharing it with you.



  1. Now you are on my blogroll also . . .

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  3. Omg...Bree, I so remember ya from JS. It's Fantasy...aka Lyrical Princess etc. I am so glad I find your blog...and love the photo by the way. Nice article too. If more people helped many wouldn't feel so broken.