Years ago, while hiking in the woods, I spotted a set of bamboo windchimes hanging from a tree. There were five weather-stained rods carved to different lengths, each of which had initials carved on it and a pair of dates. I can’t remember the years exactly—this was back in the days of chemical cameras, so if I still have the photo I took it’s in a box in my basement—but I remember they ran from the 1930s and 1940s to the 1980s.

The bar the chimes hung from had a hole carved in it for a sixth. I wondered then, and wonder now, why it was missing. Had someone’s time not come yet? Had there been no one left who knew or cared to add it? Or had a squirrel chewed through the twine used to tie it on so that it fell into the undergrowth and was lost? Either way, did the other chimes miss it?

Time to make a cup of tea. If you came in peace, be welcome; if not, be damned with you.