Friday, May 4, 2012

start small

Taking the advice of a friend, I took one small step today toward my May goal of organizing. A bag. Just a bag. A bag that has been packed since I turned one of my dressers into Jacob's changing table. So... about three and a half years ago. I thought it was time to unpack it.
 "Treasures" abounded! Pre-wedding receipts, old ski passes, an odd assortment of little bags, incense, knives, money (!), wedding things, (very) expired condoms, pregnancy things and a whole collection of batteries. Old or new, I have no idea.

 Among the stranger things: an old wallet, rubber grapes, a key assortment with an old library card. Ahem. Let me explain... The wallet was saved just for sentiment. I bought that in West Yellowstone in 1999 (I think) when we were out for my older brother's college graduation. That wallet went everywhere with me for years: to my 21st birthday, around the country on numerous road trips, to the Idaho backcountry in my back pocket while I was riding a horse (because you never know when you'll need your driver's license while riding a horse...), to Telluride and Boulder, my first real home away from home. I had to eventually part with it when the money would no longer stay in it (that practicality beat sentiment). 

The grapes. My sister gave them to me at my bachelorette party. I am a very tactile person, and there are just some things that always feel good. Like squishing these little rubber grapes between your fingers. I suggest you try it the next time you find yourself at a craft store. Or, as I discovered my accident one day, you can pinch the very tip of your nose and get a similar feeling. Go ahead, try it. Anyway, my sister knows me, loves me (and my oddities) and likes to support strange, touchy habits (because she actually has some of them too).

Everyone has a set of random, where-did-I-get-those-and-what-do-they-go-to keys. The thing that struck me about these was the library tag. The Wilkinson Public Library happens to be in Telluride. I was there in 2002 doing invasive species work for The Nature Conservancy. It was a very fun and special time in my life. That town showed me that there are places in the world where people have chosen to live differently, chosen to live from their hearts. For the first time, I could see people really doing this and not just living how they were "supposed" to with a nine-to-five job and 2.5 children by the time they were 35. It was inspiring. I like to remember that time in my life and the wonderful people I met there.

 My favourite treasure, a true treasure, was my little leather pouch of special stones. They've been collected on my journeys, at special places, and their energy comes with them. The greyish-brown rock is my favourite. I don't remember exactly where I found it, although I think it was in Michigan. I picked it up, my thumb fit perfectly against the smooth, slightly-indented side. It was soft and as I slowly rubbed my thumb over it in a circle, I just felt calm. Good. Reassured. The rock just had a wonderful feeling to it that made me feel like it was a part of me. Strange to hear, maybe, but it's what is true for me still. It touches me somewhere inside in a familiar way.
 I also came upon wedding cards and well-wishes. The garter (what do you do with one of those after the wedding anyway?). And I found this. My great-grandma, who I was fortunate enough to know, had given it to my grandma when my grandma got married. She passed it on to me. I love old things, the history of them, how they've been passed along from one person to another, their thoughts still lingering in the object after the person's physical representation has passed along. This advice has some very nice lines in it that are worth thinking on for me:

"Let us knock gently at each others' heart..." for surely, when you love someone, that is how you want to treat the very inner part of them. With care.

"We shall be lovers when that last door shuts...
But what is better still - we shall be friends." 
I am lucky to have married someone whom I think of as my best friend. Someone to whom I can talk, with whom I can let my guard down and cry. Someone who listens to me and tries in the best ways he can to support me. Someone with whom I have fun and am sharing my life. I do always want to be his friend and have him as mine. Something to remember when times are harder.

So, did I get a whole section of my house done today or a room finished? No. And a lot of things ended up in another drawer to be gone through later. But several things ended up in the recycling bin and a few more in Goodwill or the trash. Better still, I did something. I went through a bag that has been sitting in a closet of mine for three and a half years! That is a start. A small start.

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