Sunday, November 1, 2015


    It is a weirdling sort of day. Torrential rains yesterday washed the world clean. Today the wind flirts with both sun and heavy rain. Not a day to be working out of doors, so I have attempted to turn my energies indoors. The garage is in dire need of a gutting and reorganization so that I can build racks for the building materials accumulating in my backyard, under the trees. That is an onerous task. I made a few feeble attempts, and then was drawn into sorting through boxes.
    Why do we pack around boxes full of the detritus of life? I have boxes that came here with me during my move nearly four years ago. Boxes with dubious labels like, "Misc crap from desk."  Really? What was I thinking? But these are boxes I have peered into on occasion and then closed up, with the thought that I would deal with them "later."  I think that today is this often uttered "Later."
    I have worked my way through four boxes so far. It is mostly a martyr-worthy purging of paper: ancient tax forms, titles to vehicles long gone, multiple copies of course handouts for classes I will never teach again, notes for projects from a past life. It is a job that needs doing. so far, 90% of what I have sorted is destined for the burn pile. The other 10% is memorabilia worth holding onto a bit longer.
    Blended into the 90% are mementos from my past. A past so far removed that it seems to have belonged to another person. There are some things that made my eyes sting with a hint of regret, like the love letters between me and my then new husband who was away at boot camp. They were sweet, naive letters. But they reminded me of a good marriage, a good man, and the sad truth that people just change over time. We both changed, and decided we would part on good terms. We are still friends, but the letters reminded me of that innocence of youth that is long gone.
    More mementos from a relationship that is best tossed on the burn pile. I was surprised to find and scraps left, I thought I had purged them long ago. There is a satisfaction to knowing that these are the last dregs of a time that since I can't purge it from memory, at least I can turn them to the ashes they they need to be.
    There were also so many bits from my last 20 years or so. A life that was fun, educational, and made me many friends. But it is a life I have removed myself from almost entirely. It is time to lose the reams of research material, scribbled notes, sketched designs. I won't be revisiting that world any time soon, and if I do, I deserve a fresh start.
    Of the 10% that will be kept there are some that bring sad memories. I found the AKC papers from my dearest Torc, who was taken from me too soon. But then I found the adoption papers for my beloved Hugo, who never would have come into my life if I hadn't lost Torc. It is the balance of loss, love, and life. The give and take. The dark and light. There are folders with drawings made by my sons when they were young. A handmade birthday card from Sean. Photos, old band posters, mysterious film negatives. I admit to the sense of pride when I found the original loan papers, and real estate listing for my snug, little home. Buying my first home, all on my own, was a life changing event. And I found a printed copy of a novel manuscript of mine that I thought was long lost after a computer crash erased the file.
    Sorting through my past, rifling through it like a tattered library, or an archaeological dig. So many emotions to sort through on a blustery, grey day. I think I need to stop for tea. Earl Grey, I think.

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