I’ve been feeling that nomadic itch recently. Perhaps it is the time of year a la Joni’s Urge for Going. I wrote the bit below on possessions a few months ago, but the thought resurfaced tonight and so, time for the main page. I recently slid back into an old beloved pair of jeans from college and for a few moments, I felt free. I felt the strong urge— pack the bags and go.
What matters to me? The items of monetary value (with the exception of the vintage Gibson which you must recall was a gift from my favorite uncle) don’t clutch at my heart as I suspect they would for others. Things are things— items of convienence. The possessions that mean the most are those that inhabit this place as I do. I wonder when I am gone and the boxes are being packed, what will others make of the seemingly random items strewn around the place? These physical embodiments my life and the people I love.
What do I mean, exactly?
I was bothered all day long by the sound of the fireplace window slamming in the wind. I went to the mantle, looked for the green triangular rock a friend had sent last Fall. I use the rock in the open jam and it fits perfectly—holding the window open as if had always been used for this function. I was deeply troubled because I could not find it. I search around, moved a few pictures, the dried lavendar stacked up, and still I could not find it. I went and looked alongside the house in the alley for the green rock. I could not locate it. This bothered me. Sure, I could find another object, but rock’s absence would probably always bother me.
Distracted, hours later, I took everything off the mantle, and there, hiding beneath the window ledge, behind the Kent photo, was the green rock. I picked it up, rubbed it with my fingers, and sighed.
The rock, a simple green rock, was probably picked up by my friend and tossed into a package without much thought 0n his part. The rock and my favorite coffee mug (from my Santa Barbara days) are sitting on the quick reference poetry anthology I began a decade ago, spine broke, cover worn.
Things break, get lost, or left behind. And I attempt to keep the Harold and Maude philosophy in mind— she tossed the pressed coin over her shoulder into the moving river. She said she’d tossed it there so that she’d always know where it was. Ah, yes. I do struggle a bit with that. The straw bag Ben placed on a nail in the kitch nook resides where he left it two years ago. “I don’t dare touch anything because it is evidence of us, and that means everything, well sorta…” Ryan Adams’ lyric from Now That You’re Gone.
These seemingly random objects provide comfort and to me, they are my prized possessions. A rock, the crocheted afghan Carrie made me, an olivella shell from Los Oslos, the small broken effigy piece, a pressed flower from NZ, a pine cone from Strawberry creek in Berkeley, the moth I found in the upper Sonoran desert. These objects represent moments in my memory which in turn, link me physically to those I love. I wonder what my friends would think about this. Their presence kept here through inanimate objects. Simple, inaminate objects.
I am not wealthy; I make a good comfortable living and have a successful career. For this, I am pleased but Wildlands aside, things are just things. In general, I treasure the little things, gestures, items made special by the passage to me from someone I love— leaves pressed from a fall outing. A note written in quick scrawl, posted on the fridge—
If I were to pack up, there would be a lot to pack up. I’ve somehow filled the studio, garage, and house with furniture, equipment, art supplies, books, on and on. Yet, if I had to pack it all up or sell it off, I’d be mostly happy (and a bit relieved) to reduce my belongs to a few boxes of sentimental treasure, a few duffles of clothes, the Gibson, the Neruda and Snyder poetry books, a copy of Emerson’s Essay on Self-Reliance, the dog, cat.
That’s what I’d take with me. Everything else can be remade, repurchased, but these items cannot be restored. Carrie might argue that my collection of old furniture would have to be pried from my possession and I would miss these handsome objects—their hardwood strength, curving lines, and years of wear.
Yet, the items I treasure the most, I would ache to see again and their absence would clutter my dreams. The Bright Eyes’ lyric from No One Would Riot for Less comes to mind, “I’m leaving this place, but there’s nothing I’m planning to take…just you. Just you.” However, each of these items that I adore, those which make me feel more myself, I’d rather trade in every single one like coinage to have those they embody to be with me.
A day of sentimental quiet is OK. Just don’t make a habit of it, kid.
Siddhartha is running in his sleep, beating his tail on the futon. Okay. Sleep well, dream better. Night.
(Old silk Mill, Kent OH. JIG 2000). It takes a lot for me to reach out to those I love, mostly because I feel that life will provide if I set my attentions to giving and loving those in my life, friends, family, and strangers alike. Right now, the lyrics of MMJ are ringing in my ears…
“And you, you always told me, no matter how long it holds me, if it falls apart or makes us millionaires, you’ll be right here forever, go through this thing together, and on heaven’s golden shores, we’ll lay our heads…” Golden.
I need you now, in a golden sunshine life-affirming sort of way. A walk through Kent at 3 am sort of way. A long conversation where time stops and only we exist. A music-listening session spread flat out on our backs, tapping hands, feet, and feeling the vibrations through the floor….
I’m off to walk the dog in the golden sunlight. I miss you.