My old desk doesn't arabesque,
In the morning when I first arrive.
It's a pleasure to see it's waiting there for me
To keep my hopes alive. - Harry Nilsson "Good Old Desk"
I sat down on Saturday morning to do a little reclamation. I could not remember the last time I had cleaned my desk. This piece of furniture that has supported my creative impulses through the seasons and through the moments when I didn't think I had any creative impulses. Yet, here we are, back again. This is the place where I sat and wrote impassioned arguments for the betterment of the world in this way or that. This is the place where I sat and stared at a blinking cursor while the words came to me, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Most of the time, the music comes streaming at me from a collection that goes back to the years when I sat at a different desk.
But what ever desk it was, I tried to keep it clean. I do this because I can hear the lamentations of my father. He suffered with a cluttered desk syndrome so severe that if you asked me if he had a reason for leaving this earth, I might have suggested that he wanted to get away from the clutter on his desk. One of the last things I had to do before I left down after my father's memorial service was to go to his office and clear out his cubicle. There were treasures mixed into the rubble, but mostly it was stack after stack of paper that had been left to be attended to later. Then, suddenly, it was too late.
It was this memory that kept chipping away at the back of my mind as I sorted the bits and pieces of the last few years of my life out of the piles I had accrued. There were installation discs for machines I no longer owned. There were cables and wires that used to connect to those machines. There were expired passes to Disneyland, kept in the faint hope that the magic might trail after them. There were dozens of CDs crammed with photos of moments that had been forgotten, some of them on purpose. And on one of these I found a collection of QuickTime movies. These featured my little boy playing in the ball pit at the food court. The ball pit is gone. The little boy is all grown up. The food court has changed its offerings. The joy in that face, coming out of the multi-colored spheres, remains.
I made a note to myself to be careful not to leave too much of a chore when it comes time for my son to clear out my desk. Perhaps there will be nothing but that disc. The one with him frothing about in the ball pit. A desk full of joy.