The Bench Outside: A Lesson on Legacy

The morning was grey, and the clouds sat forlornly, dangling just barely above our heads, waiting to weep out all their sorrows and soak them deeply into our skin. The August fog clung stickily to my clothing, but still, I sat. I write about this bench far too often, but never have I described its individual beauty. It is black, and metal, and worn in the center where so many sat before me. It is situated perpendicularly to the nearest building, and not quite parallel to the street that it watches, day after day, somehow never growing dreary of the same ole cars cruising routinely in its view. There is a scuff mark on the right armrest – I remember it vividly – and if you place your elbow on it and angle your back just right, you will be able to find sleep-like comfort in the embrace of the antique seat. In no other place have I learned so many lessons as I have while sitting on this bench.  It is so integral to so many of my memories that it almost ought to have a name. I have thought about this frequently, but never have I applied the idea. But surely, surely this emblem of wisdom should have some sort of legacy!

That morning, the one that was grey and damp and sorrowful, I pondered how I could commemorate this bench and all the significance that it possesses, and this thought process posed a question: What is a legacy?

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus explores the idea of the repetition of life. He uses Sisyphus (a character from Greek mythology who was cursed to eternally push a boulder up a cliff and watch it fall again) to signify that life is just a cycle of the same mundane things happening over and over again. If this is true, and life is redundant and predictable and unsatisfying, then what is the point? What is the purpose of living the same events over, and over, and over again, knowing that at the end of the day, the boulder will come falling right back down the hill? Camus stated that if you choose to “imagine Sisyphus happy,” then you will find your answer.

Sitting on the bench once again, I was reminded of this philosophy. I repeatedly sit in the same spot, in the same position, looking at the same scenery. Even the time of day, the shadows, and often the weather stay consistent. Nevertheless, the whole routine feels so significant and important to me. I always come up with new stories, ponder new ideas, celebrate new revelations. Therefore, I become the happy Sisyphus. I think that this is legacy – not doing something heroic or out of the ordinary, but finding significance and value in simplicity, and sharing this wisdom with others. In a way, this blog is my legacy. My poetry is my legacy. Every person I share my thoughts with is part of my legacy. As for the bench? The bench’s legacy is in its scuff marks, its scratches, and the imprints it makes in the dirt on which it stands. It’s in every photograph that it’s featured in, every poet that wrote their stories while seated on it, every bird that has landed on its back, and every memory recorded in its presence. It seems small. It seems common. It seems insignificant. But this is legacy: the uniqueness one has the audacity to emit in spite of all of the mundaneness of life.


Author: Emelia Bosarge

Hi! I’m Emmy. I’m a writer, an artist, and above all, I am a creative. I love Greek Mythology, Hozier, bagels, and anything and everything that can teach me something. Through my blog, I hope to extend the same love of curiosity and different perspectives that I have to my readers.

4 thoughts on “The Bench Outside: A Lesson on Legacy”

  1. I love the vivid imagery in this and the way you started this post off! I also really like the view of a legacy you presented; finding joy in the little things makes things so much better. I (think) visit that bench every day between classes, and a lot of fun things have happened there! There was also this one specific lizard (I could tell by its half-gray tail, occasionally accompanied by another, who would always be there on the trash can every day. They were really amazing to observe. The way their scales laid, the crunching of bugs they caught, how their colors shifted from green to brown, the way they spread their feet to cling to a smooth metal surface. It was amazing that they didn’t fall off, jumping and running around on it. I haven’t seen them in a while, but I like to imagine they’re doing okay.

  2. I love this so much; I have pondered with the idea of death since I was very little. It’s painful to think about almost “everything you ever do won’t matter one day, so what’s the point of doing anything”- was a sentiment that I repeated to myself daily. I love what you said about finding value and significance in simplicity. You don’t have to make every action be this memorable thing that’ll contribute to you overarching “legacy”, because you yourself and everything you do already is. You incapsulated the way I feel about this perfectly.

  3. I love routine. I like having a time and a schedule. I like waking up at 7:00, I like going downstairs at 7:30. I like how I sit down on a black bench from 7:35 to 7:55. I like how at 11:35, I watch Futurama till 12:05. And I like how I go to bed at the same time every night 10:00.
    But the days I like the most are the days that I wake up late, and it changes everything.

  4. I really enjoy how well you’re able to convey complicated and advanced topics through simple things such as a bench. It is a good change of pace and I really enjoy picking up on the contrasts and segways that you use throughout the blog.

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