I made a halfhearted attempt at cleaning yesterday. My mind kept conjuring up things I’d rather be doing…like poking my eyes out with a stick. Only I had put this off long enough and had to get to it. The house hasn’t gotten dirty it has just gotten lived in…around and through. So it has come time to put things back in their proper place and those things that haven’t been used or even remembered for months need to be donated to somewhere that someone can make use of them. So the piles grow.
Things for the trash go straight into a trash bin sitting outside the office door so I can fill it to overfull and the spillage will not get back in the way or find its way back into a pile I am going through…thereby having me wonder why I have two receipts for the same thing from 1976. I flip through books that I have started to read, intended to read, or am reading, to make sure I haven’t missed any words or thoughts of wisdom that could strike a chord of thought, thereby giving me an excuse to leave the piles where they stand and drive me to the computer to write something profound…profound enough to bring peace to the Middle East. Instead I find a twenty dollar bill I had been using for a bookmark and decide that found money is not meant for saving and plan a trip to the coffee shop after I un-bury the room from the mountain of “stuff.”
There on the desk, deep within my piling system is a folder of photos I took back in 1972 during my time in the US Navy; Men at sea, children on the streets of Kaohsiung Taiwan, friends enjoying a beer, and more. I revel in the memories for than a few moments and wake from my daydream and realize that an hour has past and the room has not set about cleaning itself.
I wonder how I have accumulated so much stuff; stuff that I had planned to make use of, or felt the need to hang onto for some forgotten reason. Then, as I pick up each item, the mere contact with the surface, memories pour through the gates of my past; gates opened by the texture, sight or smell of the object and I am once again reliving the time when that item meant so much and what I felt way back when.
It is no wonder so many of us are unable to discard objects from our past, because if we did we would be discarding the memories that are connected and rekindled by the time machine in our grasps.
Much to my daughter’s dismay, I dust and replace the item to its glorified place in a box that is only to be reopened during another attempt at cleaning and purging. I remove some items from the bookshelves and place them in a new box, replacing them with items that have rekindled memories I want to savor for a few days, weeks, months and decide to take out the trash bin before it over flows even more. I will leave the dismissal of the remaining items and memories to my daughter much later when I am not responsible for their loss. I feel I should leave the memories stay where they are for now and proceed with my day…making more memories to savor during another cleanup.