New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lost and Found

I will never know for sure why this ceramic cat was perched so carefully on a sidewalk curbstone. Many may ask, why do I care? Initially its bright colors made it jump out on a bleak winter day, so unexpected. However, what really piqued my interest was that its placement there was so obviously deliberate - there had to be some original intention. Was it an artistic statement, a discarded possession or some act of rebellion? And since this occurred in New York City, such an occurrence also had a huge element of vulnerability - an object will only remain like this for a short time and to witness it is a privilege with a very small window of opportunity. See my posting Small Gestures here.

Am I making too much of such a small thing? Perhaps, but the devil is in the details and often, things like this can say a lot and also take one in unknown directions. I have an idea as to why it was there and an idea I want to believe.

When I was in Paris once, strolling with a friend, we noticed a glove on a window ledge. In the same way as this cat, it had been obviously placed there deliberately - it was hard to imagine it could have gotten there by accident. We also had the sense that it was intentionally undisturbed. These things were so curious that we indulged in conversation about it for some time and concluded that this glove was lost and was placed there for its original owner to be found.

Speaking to others, we subsequently learned that we were correct and that this was a common practice in Paris. In all likelihood, the owner of an item will pass the same way again and find his or her lost personal belonging. We were so elated to learn that this small act of humanity had become common practice. How wonderful to learn of a variant on lost and found that required both the honesty and thoughtfulness of many by the thousands of passersby who participate in this act.

Perhaps this explains the mystery behind the cat. For me, however, there is a greater gift than finding a lost possession. Like many New Yorkers who have become untrusting and cynical through years of living here, I have lost faith in the goodness of people. But I found it again in these acts of kindness ...

Related Posting: Small Gestures.

9 comments:

karen said...

great post and fabulous picture. small acts of kindness bring me hope for humanity as well. i love how a random object can cause a person to build a whole story around it.

An Honest Man said...

Ties in very neatly to the Christmas Message.

From one old cynic to a 'reformed' one, have a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and 'prosperous' New Year.

Anonymous said...

wow- spectacular pics and fab writing ! so happy to have found you!
rose

Islipian said...

oh! a little hanukkat!

Vogon Poet said...

Islipian is right this is a Hanukkah Star Cat.

Look at:

http://www.remmeer.com/whimsiclay-hanukkah-star-cat-p-782.html

picreation said...

I've just discovered this blog: Your photo are amazing and the stories great!

Really a cool blog!

Brian Dubé said...

Islipian & Vogon Poet;
Good detective work and identification. Since this figure was found during Hannukah, this adds an element which makes the finding more perplexing.

Anonymous said...

As a former resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn I can tell you that neighborhood is one big lost and found. The large numbers of small children make for a forest of gloves, hats and even little shoes stuck onto fence posts awaiting their owners' return...

Katie cat said...

That happened to me once. I lost one of my favorite earrings at school and a week or two later, happened to be walking through the main lobby and saw it posted up on a tackboard in the lost and found section. How nice!