I am reconstructing two years of blogs that were lost overnight, and using this as an opportunity to learn some lessons about impermanence.
First, the story: Apparently I neglected to renew the hosting of my blog. I also naively assumed that everything out in cyberspace stayed in cyberspace forever, and could be easily retrieved. Wrong.
This lesson came on the heels of another huge loss: the death of my mother, Anna Marie Walter Faulstich: a remarkable woman who was mother to eight children, grandmother to fifteen, and great-grandmother to three.
Now losing a webpage is not the same as losing a loved one. But losing my mother helped me to take the loss of these two years of work in stride, and to really absorb a life lesson that is so much more profound than it seems when expressed in a few words on a page.
Things – words, ideas, and people we love – really can be lost forever.
So too can glaciers, languages, species, polar ice caps, cities, and nations – things that are being lost from our planet even as I write these words.
We have no guarantee that what we take for granted will be here tomorrow, next week, or next year.
If we’re lucky, the things we love can be around for a long time – as my mother was for 94 long, healthy years.
But we can be sure they won’t be here, if we don’t care for them.
I can (and will) reconstruct much of my blog, but we can’t rebuild the polar icecaps. We can’t resurrect species that have gone extinct. We can’t retrieve lost languages. We can’t bring back the dead. And we can’t know the impact of these losses until we have lost them.
If we really took in these lessons on impermanence, how would it change the ways we live?