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Strange Math

A poem about a man who would take walks by Andrew Taylor-Troutman.

A small orange glove propped up on a fence poll with a green, tree background.

Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

A man took daily walks in the neighborhood and, in the course of his perambulations, would find lost mittens or socks, a yo-yo, or any number of items that are in the habit of walking away from young children. This man would hang such wayward artifacts from a conspicuous tree branch or atop a nearby fence post in order to be easily retrieved by their rightful owner. Strange math — the way so little can add to so much.

This man died of a heart attack on one of these walks. But for months afterward, mittens, socks, yo-yos and more continued to make their way into trees and along fence posts. You might suspect that other neighbors picked up where this man had left off as a tribute to him and a service to others. I think you are onto something. And there is more.

About a year after his death, his lone grandson lost the necklace his grandfather had given him. The young man searched his entire house, certain the family treasure had been misplaced indoors. But he went to bed, distraught. The next morning, the grandson found the necklace on his way to work, hanging from the front latch of his gate. How might you account for that? Perhaps the final calculus is not with logic but with love. Love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love that never ends.