Death, Resurrection and the Harddrive, an Easter Sunday Story

Thursday was the last day I saw my "computer" as I knew her.  My friend, travel companion, ally, workpartner, buddy and communication portal.  We were sitting and talking earlier in the day, I wrote up a light handout for a patient, printed it off and a little clicking sound began.  Almost like a stroke, she clicked and wirred and didn't move a muscle.  I put her away for resting, and tried again later.  No dice. 

John removed the drive, put it in cryogenic storage (freezer) for a few days to minimize damage before trying to reboot.  Today, Easter morning, while I was out at Quaker meeting reconnecting with friends and community, my little harddrive was announced unable to resurrect.  We had talked about finding a new drive, and rebooting and translating files and, and, and... somewhere between a parable of Frankenstein and Jesus, I decided to let go of my little computer that could.  Her Mac shell lies partly disemboweled on the table, able to house another drive and I may do it.  Or I may bury my dead. 

I have lost a lot, plenty, this will be a tiresome task moving on.  But I feel a sense of relief and release.  What is trapped in her memory is mostly that which I can live without, because I do live without it every day.  I look at my shelves, my storage unit, my closet, and see CDs and photo albums and boxes of photos and boxes of stuff- memories of olden times- that I never look through and I don't reminisce about.  Losing the ton of digital data I have lost is either a monumental loss or a huge cleaning effort.  I wish my shelves would shut down and disappear from my holographic universe without recovery.  Somewhere in storage is the previous laptop, put away, filled with music and photos and data I have not gone to recover since I got the last laptop 7 plus years ago.  Another thing to store, maintain, dust. 

I am not sure why I am not more sentimental. I keep old things. I have jewelry that was given to me for my 16th birthday, from friends.  I have random old shit- stones, coins, crystals, school photos- from elementary school.  Even an old "gem" from my best friend in Nursery school.  We are no longer friends, although facebook says otherwise, but there it lies in a satchel I have lugged around for 35 plus years. 

I am fond of friends, and have moved around a lot. I stopped investing in "forever" so long ago I forget that it is an option.  Of course, until a flood or fire or hurricane or thief or tornado comes along.  I wish for things to "just be gone" at the same time I can pick up an old necklace and put it on and remember making it in college or buying the beads on a trip somewhere. Sometimes when I pick up sweaters I have made, I remember what I was doing at the time I was making it.  

This morning, this Easter, this last day of March, was like a resurrection for me.  I got so far away from things I knew, I loved, I rejoiced in, I forgot how it felt to be part of something big and yet intimate.  I schlepped for work across town for so long, I let go of activities and social groups of real people in real time.  My relationship with Open Salon provided a neat portal of community, portable, humorous or affectionate, until it self imploded.  Another loss, with a collection of my writing and spirit collecting edust in its attic.  

Yet, today I feel relieved more than annoyed, another burden taken off me, and a clean space to fill up all over again.  I can reconnect with the past, and instead of going backwards I can just come home.  How wonderful to sit in meeting, looking through the cathedral wall of glass, to see the same trees, just a little older, in full spring bloom.  How wonderful to sit in meeting, looking at the faces in the giant circle, after a wonderful breakfast, and actually feel remembrance.  We have all moved along our timelines, and so many of us, so many who are part of the "us" to "me" were there to intersect again.  Like myself, a few hadn't been in a very long time, and yet we just took up again like it was last week. 

I am willing to offer my harddrive as the necessary sacrifice to reconnecting with my physical body, my spiritual self, my loving community and go back and climb that mountain I see every morning.  My feet know the path, even if my muscles have forgotten the way.  You can't swim in the same river twice, you cannot climb the same path again.  Landmarks worn away, smoothed in time, bushes come and gone, cactus getting larger, and the spring of the desert leaps out onto the trail, just for now, just this way, just this year.  

There are only a few things I really want to get out of my little harddrive, and those are a matter of convenience.  Everything else is ash, to be washed away.  I am no longer grieving this loss (mostly my grief was my stupidity in not actually making sure I was backed up, which I was not, actually).  I am celebrating my ability to let go and move on and get reborn, even in this old body, a couple beats shy of my own mortal wound.  It could be tomorrow or in 10,000 tomorrows and I hope I am not carrying around today's load when I get there. 

Easter, like reincarnation, is renewal.  It may not be our choice to die, but always our choice to get up and live again.  And again.  

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Comment by JMac1949 Today on March 31, 2013 at 4:24pm

After you retrieve what ever you may need from your drive, don't forget to open the little beast, remove the disks. trash the surfaces with a wire brush... the only way to secure the data is to physically destroy the media.  In the meantime for back up of what you really need or want, drop by Best Buy and pick up some 32 Gbyte memory sticks on sale.  Solid state remains solid without fear of physical failure.  Happy Easter or celebration of the Goddess of Dawn, which every you prefer.  R&L ;-)

Comment by Jenny on March 31, 2013 at 4:45pm

I apparently have things saved "to the cloud", yet I'm not quite sure how to access or even which cloud to check...

Comment by Steve S on March 31, 2013 at 9:23pm

There may be a cotton-candy lining in all this.

HOW TO turn a dead hard-drive into a cotton candy machine

Then again, maybe not.

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