The desk and chair that I sit at today are both second hand. I have had them for so long that I can no longer quite remember which marks on them are the ones I have made and which ones have been there since before my time. I think that every mark we leave behind tells a story, every change we make to the world around us creates memories which can be triggered when we see the mark.
I heard someone once talk about how they loved all the marks on kitchen tables (the ones which were used by everyone for everything and so had lines scored by pens through paper, little scratches in the varnish and a series of ridges from the time someone forgot to put a mat down underneath the hot pot) because they told a a story, something of the family’s history. I know that I’ve left marks of my own behind, they were mostly unintentional, but whenever I think of them I feel a half smile on my face at some of the choices I have made.
At times marks can annoy us, a bent page in your book, the chocolate fingerprints on your scarf. But as time goes on, I think it wears out the frustation of these moments and you remember with nostalgia the reason why your garage had a hole in the front (brakes on bicycles are useful only when they are used, but I still kept riding down my driveway). As much as I love perfection, it can be too hard at times to keep up. To some extent, imperfection is natural and once the first mark is there the object becomes more personal and unique than it was before.
The world around us is full of marks to which probably only one person would know the whole story. I find it fascinating walking down memory lane and prompted by reminders of the marks I have left behind. Marks are a sign of life and each one has a story, however short it is which could be told.