Let me open by saying, life’s pretty darn good. I’m sipping a Lost Abbey Inferno ale outback by the fire, listening to old favorites, and enjoying a few hours to myself after a week of friends coming n’ going through Wildlands and dealing with Work. The gardens are growing, the furry beasts are healthy, and I’m finally recovering from the hives—just in time to give my presentation in Denver next week.
I am feeling sentimental— not wistful for the past or anxious for the future, but rather, thankful for (and comforted by) what is here and now.
On Tuesday, I found an old pair of boots that I’d sworn were long gone. Their reappearance, my return to batiking, and a lovely drive up the Delta have inspired this post. It has long back story and I point you to these older posts—A Thought On Possessions, Hell Does Freeze Over and We All Grow Up, and You’ve Been Reading Synder Again, Haven’t You?
We are mosaics—reflections of the beings and landscapes that have crossed our paths, leaving imprints on our heart. We humans only have so much space to store our emotional life; tonight, I ponder why I hold onto this and why I chose to let go of that.
Being a nomad for several years living in hotel rooms and studio apartments, every item needed to have a function to stay with me on the road. I am sentimental about those items— two milk crates with a few books, art supplies, and cds, one backpack, and a large duffel with clothing. Wildlands is now crammed full of items—a few years ago, I lost my sorting vigilance and became a bit lazy. I’ve been doing major cleaning these last few months as I increasingly turn my attentions from Work to Life. As I think about possessions, reducing the clutter, and holding onto items that mean the most, these lyrics come to mind:
I don’t keep much stuff around; I value my portability—but I will say that I have saved every letter you’ve ever wrote to me. The one you left on my windshield, outside of that little hotel… Ani Difranco
During a nap last week, I dreamed I was reaching for these boots while Sky bounced and Siddhartha nudged his leash and harness towards me. I woke up and wandered off to the park with the dogs, feeling a little blue. I missed those boots.
When I wore them last, I was 29. I’d moved back to Sacramento, rented the D St. house, and begun sorting through possessions, picking out the items that’d make the transition from my nomadic life. Honestly, I didn’t have a lot— everything I owned fit into the living room— I’d been living out of hotels and studio apartments for a few years.
I remember thinking the boots somehow seemed out-of-place resting on the hardwood floors. I bought a pair of water proof Vasques and forgot about the loggers. A few years went by and I began to long for those boots—mostly because I longed for that woman who’d walked hundred of miles (literally) in them. Now, that woman, she’d been free. She didn’t have a mortgage and she didn’t let work suck her soul dry for a promotion. Her roof didn’t leak and she certainly didn’t have a puppy that ate really, really important THINGS. I have often thought of these boots. Two years ago, they appeared in a poem (excerpt below).
I sit back a bit on my heels,
think about my old leather work boots—
the ones that creased just right
at the ankles
and how I’d perch for hours
looking out at the Chocolates,
daydreaming you, forearms
outstretched on my knees…
from “Blue” 2009.08.30 JIG
Tuesday night, I was up in the art studio, poking around for batik supplies. I pulled out a few boxes from beneath the futon and cursed myself— I’ve lived here six and a half years and I still have a few unpacked boxes. I opened up a box labeled “LCD”—inside were my beloved Chippewa boots and a few trinkets from my desert days.
Einah says I’m clairvoyant. Maybe. I say the universe offers up things when I have true need for them. Sometimes I’m even focused enough to recognize the significance of their arrival.
The left toe bares the mark of a rattler that’d struck in high grass in an even higher canyon. I was hundreds of feet from the road on a solo survey well out of cell range; it’s only by luck or pluck it didn’t go through the leather.
Shooting photographs for a long dead friend. Laughing through tears when I remember they are gone but how they’d give a nod— I’m doing it.
This little house with its gardens—that is my future. Friends come and go and their presence leaves a warm imprint on Wildlands.