What We Leave Behind

I finished reading Fahrenheit 451 yesterday. Toward the end of the book, one of the characters quotes from his grandfather:

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies…. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched someway so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.

Why did I think of that statement when I saw this Mountain Dew plastic bottle “planted” in the dirt at a construction site? Is this how the next generation will remember us? The huge pile of plastic floating in the ocean?

I still have flowers that return each year that my mother gave me. A few years before she died, she gave me a plant called a magic lily, or a surprise lily. The summer after she died, it bloomed for the first time. That’s where I see her soul: in flowers or when I eat a homegrown tomato.


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