An extract from Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451
By Ray Bradbury

An extract from Fahrenheit 451

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. 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 some way 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, he said, so as 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.

I didn’t read Fahrenheit 451 until long after high school and college, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to or that I didn’t have the opportunity. At that time there were text books to read, papers to write and presentations to give. At that point in my life I may have not had as much appreciation for literature or art as I have gained later in life. The extract, as short as it is, giving a wealth of appreciation for what we have and for what we had.
We often don’t take enough time out of our “busy” lives to appreciate what we have. I’m not talking about the fine china, crystal, silver or the fancy collectables that sit behind glass looking out at us. Those are just physical items that don’t have a soul or even eyes to catch moments. Sure, we remember all the time it takes to polish the siver, to set the table and get the food ready. Then we sit down to a meal mentally, physically exhausted and put on a happy face. We sit and have conversations, a few laughs, eat our meal, chat a few moments more and then break off into little groups. The men go to watch the big game, the women go to wash the dishes, and the kids go out to play. We say to ourselves it was all worth it, the weeks of planning, the grocery shopping, the cleaning the cooking.
Yet there is something missing or should I say someone? It may be a parent, child, grandparent or someone else your heart longs for. As everyone sat at the table, enjoying their meal, your heart ached. No one took a moment to talk about or remember the one who wasn’t there. As you wash the pots and pans you look out the window (if you have one above the sink) or your thoughts just drift. Thinking, longing for the one you have lost and your heart still aches. You ask yourself how long has it been? It seems like an eternity since the death occurred but your brain and your heart know better. You say to yourself why didn’t I bring up his or her name? Why didn’t someone else, they have to be missing them too?
After the guests leave the house, and the kids are in bed, you sit quietly in your favorite chair, lost in your thoughts, longing, aching, and wondering why.  

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