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What's the meaning of this sentence?

I had less and less control over my own history each day. I suppose I could have made some kind of effort. It should have been easy to trace: this happened, I was here, that happened next, all of which led inevitably to the present moment. I could have picked up a handful of dirt from the street outside, some wax from a candle on the altarpiece, ash from the incense as it swung past. I could have wrung it out, hoping I might find an essential thing that would give meaning to this place or that time. I did not. Certainty had surrendered all its territory in my mind. I’d have just been left with a mess in my hands anyway, no more.
What's the meaning of "I’d have just been left with a mess in my hands anyway, no more."? Does it mean Icouldn't remember my history, even if I had picked up dirt,wax and ash?
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For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    I believe you are on the right track. He's only saying that picking up those materials would have resulted in nothing more than a mess in his hands.

    It seems as though the character in the story you are reading is experiencing a crisis. It seems that while these objects (the dirt from the street, the wax from the altar, and ash from the incense) held some significant meaning in his life a short while ago, his views have changed drastically recently and they no longer hold any deeper meaning that just being normal objects.

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