Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chapter Two.

This isn’t writer’s block. This is everything block. Mental, physical, emotional exhaustion. I’ve felt like a rag doll since the morning after the move and I can’t seem to kick it. I have very few concrete thoughts. I nap a lot. I move slowly. After so many weeks and months of planning and packing, anticipation and fear, it’s the big comedown. If I must confess, it feels kind of nice.

Perhaps it’s actually everything unblock.

It was odd, seeing all of my life’s possessions, stacked like so many cubes of Habitat ‘67,

in one 20 x 10 space. It was strange to pull down the rolling metal door and walk away. Curiously, this proved to be a more profound moment to me than that of closing the door and walking away from my former home for the last time. I would have expected it to be the reverse.

I found the storage facility itself to be a rather interesting place for some perspective: Row upon very neat row of locked boxes of various configurations, each withholding a different story of a different person’s life. Lives in transition. I found myself wanting to know what secrets were contained behind these other doors; to know something of the people who were attached to what lay tucked away safely behind them. Happy stories, sad stories, strange stories. Forgotten stories. Boring stories. In a way it brought me comfort to know that I was very far from being the only person who had a certain piece of her life in limbo, however important or insignificant. And this was only one storage facility on one street in one part of a city of a province of a country of a continent of a world. There are millions like me, everywhere, each with possessions to stash away for safekeeping; things we drag around with us from place to place, city to city, home to home. We pay someone to watch over it all for us, even if at the end of the day it’s little more than a hopeless jumble of rummage sale rejects that we don’t know what else to do with yet somehow can’t quite bring ourselves to part with.

We are funny.

The cycle begins early (what kid doesn’t have “mine” as part of their earliest vocabulary?), and commonly continues on for the rest of our lives.

And so it is that I temporarily break away from a hefty chunk of my creature comforts for the first time in my life. No more Montauk ABC chair. No more closet full of clothes. No more chipped bust of David that I stole from the Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School Library in 1987. No more Tempur-Pedic mattress (this I will dearly miss).

All of the possessions I will interact with for the next few months fit (I use the term loosely) into two suitcases. This will all be edited down to one backpack-full before I leave on my world tour.

It is a delicate blend of apprehension and relief. Part of me looked at that mountain of stuff in the storage space; the flotsam and jetsam produced by the ebb and tide of years of accumulation, and never wanted to see it again. Part of me wanted to dive into the middle of it all and never leave. We build our nests, line them with bits and pieces of whatever we can gather in order to feel safe and protected. It is against our nature to then leave it all behind. In the end, disappointingly, I didn’t get rid of nearly as much as I thought I had.

I went back to the storage facility the very next day and precariously picked my way through the maze, playing Rubik’s cube with the boxes and furniture until, sweating and tired, I located the box containing my dollar store Santa coffee mug (thanks mum – this made the cut). I fished out the mug and brought it to D’s house where I am staying, for my daily morning coffee. It is my favourite mug. It is a small piece of familiarity and comfort in my otherwise foreign surroundings (it’s also really funny because D and her family are Jewish, so the mug is very clearly “mine” and not “theirs”).

I may have flown the nest, but I apparently feel the need to keep a few twigs close at hand.

It’s all a process.

(Thanks to M and L for the quote below from the bible. I’ve never read the bible, but this is actually pretty cool):

/ 25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? /26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? /27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? / 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, /29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. /30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?


Lorraine said...

Okay now you're just freaking me out. When I went walk about and wandered away from all that was normal and practical in 2003, I became quite obsessed with the word twig (even found it etched into the sidewalk in funky scrawl in Saskatoon of all places...). It *never* crossed my mind the connection between the word, and the little sprig of my worldly nest I needed to carry along. Hmm...

Also, I always wonder if there's anything illegal going on in those storage lockers. Maybe that's just me? ;-)

A la prochaine...

Anonymous said...

Look what it says in Matthew 6 a couple of verses before the ones you quoted at then end of your blog...

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

I think Jesus' whole point with that is that we are eternal beings... everything in us screams for more than this life, more than just having THINGS... which is why Jesus goes on to talk about not worrying.

Things... they are not important... people & relationship... that is what is truly important. Check out Mark 12 verses 28-31 if you feel like it.

Bill said...

I'm fascinated by your journey. You are starting your trip 2 months ahead of my similar one. I see myself in your anticipations, processes and decisions and that is a tribute to the quality of your writing.

Best of luck.