Last night I saw the short film つみきのいえ, ‘The House of Small Cubes.’ It is of an old man whose village has flooded over may years and so he continually must build another level to his house to stay above water. In the middle of every cube is a trap door leading to the lower, flooded cube which continues all the way to the bottom.
One day, he decides to go down as his pipe has been left a few cubes down. Once he reaches it he is reminded of his wife who gave the pipe to him and has passed away. This leads to more memories and encourages him to dive even further down into the lower cubes, each with their own memories corresponding to the the period of his life in which it was lived in.
Here is the short film in its entirety. It is only twelve minutes long so I suggest you watch it if you have the time. It will really make you think about the brevity of life, your life experiences and encourage you to appreciate the special moments a bit more.
This film really hit home with me. I realize how quickly life goes and through this very blog I wish to record it. I mark the time and my current experiences/thoughts with each blog post with the main purpose being that I find life to be beautiful, precious, mysterious, fragile and brief. This blog is the most precious thing I own as it is a record of my life and my life experiences. Soon enough I’ll no longer exist but hopefully this blog will survive into the age of advanced AI and even past the borders of this planet we call Earth. When my body no longer exists and the atoms of which it is comprised have diffused to form new things I’d like this blog to be the mark I’ve left on this universe.
Life is brief and at 40 years old this fact has become jarringly apparent. My generation’s grandparents have almost all passed away and we’re at the beginning of when our own parents my do so as well. Almost everyone has friends or acquaintances of the same age that have died and slowly but surely this number will increase. So far five people in my age group that I’ve considered friends have died and this number will slowly increase as the years pass by. I’ll be sitting at a bar with a good high school buddy and we’ll be reminiscing about so and so who passed away a few years ago and what their kids are now doing. Life goes quickly and it is films like The House of Small Cubes that remind us of this.
The movie also reminded me of one of my favorite animations on YouTube that was taken down due to copyright on the song “Old Man” by Neil Young. The animation is called One Life and it is by Corey Hayes. I’ve embedded it here as this website still keeps the version with Old Man as the song.
It also shows the various stages of life: starting out as a baby, growing up, getting married, kids and so on until finally you’re just a lonely old man all by himself and the time has come for you to pass away as well.
The old man passes away in a hospital bed all alone which is similar and conveys the same sad reality of the old man in The House of Small Cubes who lives all alone, his entire village long flooded and underwater, everyone he has ever known gone away.
I almost forgot, the fact that it is a pipe the old man is after in The House of Small Cubes is very special to me. The one thing of my Grandfather’s I wanted to keep was his pipe, it is the one item I identify most with him. I’ve had it in my treasure chest since he passed away in 2001 and is something I’ll pass down to my own kids as a treasured family heirloom. I’ll always remember Grandpa sitting in his lazy boy recliner, smoking his pipe, eating Planter’s Peanuts and watching World War II on the history channel.
The other item I’d like to keep and pass down is his WWII 10th Mountain Division pin. This is something I think my Dad should have and will ask about it next time I see him.