my son may be in your vacuum cleaner

Seriously. You may wanna go check.

Ferdinand was cremated. There is a possibility that some of his ashes, minute particles of them, escaped the plastic bag that it was supposed to be loaded into and tied firmly and then placed in a plastic box and then a velvet bag and then handed over to us with sympathies.

Some of the ashes may have flown undetected onto the floor of the crematorium and carried about by the shoes of the good guy who helped us cremate our son. Maybe some tiny particles of my son’s ashes got onto the good guy’s shoes and it got thumped off at the post office when he went in to get his mail and some of the dirt was sucked up by the ventilator which re-circulated it into the mailroom and got shuffled into the mail and then got stuck onto a part of an envelope and maybe that envelope is somewhere in your house.

When his ashes arrived in Singapore, at the temple, and they were emptied, from plastic bag to urn, and the breeze, almost ever-present, might have swept up a whiff of the ashes, and they got mixed into the food being prepared for the temple lunch. Or, it got stuck onto somebody’s sweaty arms (it is very humid there) and got carried all over the small island-state, or that somebody got onto an airplane headed for the Swiss Alps and so a part of Ferdinand ended up in a different continent. Have you had a guest recently? Check their shoes, you may find my son.

Before he was cremated, I held him, hugged him tight, and kissed him. Tried to make an imprint on him and tried to engrave his body onto mine. Maybe some of his skin cells were brushed off and stuck on to me, for a few seconds. Then, they may have fallen onto the floor, and got swept out of the funeral home as we exited. The wind from the hills may have swept those cells up, carried them across the country, and dumped them somewhere on the East coast.

The dust may have fallen into your house when you opened your door or your window. You decided to vacuum the house. And there he goes, into your vacuum cleaner.

Or, a few molecules of my son’s ashes may be fertilizing your tomatoes right this very second.

I do sound like I am spinning a tall tale, aint’t I?

Except, we know that everyday the world is on the move, in every sense, whether you take the macro- or micro-view. Foods are transported over long distances, and with them, dust. Air circulates, moves over distances, taking sounds and smells and small tiny particles, including human ashes, with them.

Dust is very tiny. Anything smaller then one-sixteenth of a millimeter in diameter can be defined as dust. They come from everywhere and from anything- dirt, pollen grains, tire rubber, salt sprays from the ocean, skin flakes, fire ashes, volcanic eruptions, desert sands, animal fur, and, let’s not forget about cosmic dust. You may have star dust in your vacuum cleaner too.

When a supernova explodes, it sends small particles of dust far out into space, and some of this dust falls on Earth. You may find some of these cosmic dust particles inside your nostrils.

What is more fascinating is that you cannot destroy dust. You dust, vacuum and sweep, and pour everything into your garbage can and think it is good riddance when the garbage truck rolls around on Monday morning. Well, some of that dust is still on your driveway because when the garbage gets dumped, air gets moved and the air moved the dust too. Rumor is, dust from the dinosaurs still remains, because there is no way you can destroy dust. They move around, get mixed into things of all sorts; things break down, and the dust re-surfaces again.

Come to think of it, dust is a beautiful thing. And so indestructible. So durable, it is forever. Forever swirling around. Here, in my house; there, in your house; on earth, over earth; in the vast Universe, and probably beyond too. Ferdinand, my baby, in my current system of belief, is part ashes, part dust, part soul and part spirit. And so he may well be everywhere right now.

Perhaps in your vacuum cleaner, too.

I will never look at the world the same way again. I will never see dust the same way ever again.