Things and Thoughts

Sometimes an essay or a poem is too much. Sometimes it's just a thought. After all, that’s how this all got started. So I have added this section to My Midden. Small thoughts. The work of grief is daily work, not all of which has been converted into fine art. Sorry.

Thinking about things.

I have been getting rid of things this week, in another burst of turning shared space into customized personal space. Prescription drugs. Moisturizing lotion. Cake pans. Sleeping bags. Hundreds of CDs. Be gone. On the surface, it seems easy: does this object give me joy? Does this object still have a purpose? How many bundt cake pans do I need?

Just below the surface, each object whispers its own origin story, its own life history. Each insists that it should be kept because of what it was, not what it is. Each has a story of optimism and aspiration. The epic camping trip to Yellowstone. The dinner party with homemade flan. The quest for the perfect honey cake. Things object strongly to being tossed in the trash or offered on Craigslist. 

Many objects are now orphans. Nobody knows the story of those antique decanters, or that willow-pattern plate. They are mute, and even more likely to end up banished.

Some of them hang by a thread. I almost remember the story of the civil war musket ball, and Roman antiquities bought in the shuk. I'm pretty sure I'll need a couple of cookie sheets and at least one bundt pan. So they stay.

Yet I find that once I do get things out the door, I seldom think of them again. Subtly, this exercise in de-acquisition takes a lot of energy. It leaves me tired and cranky, even as the house becomes more my own, and the cupboards and garage become more navigable. Things don’t want to be disowned, and they extract a little revenge.

The Return of Time