These ones stayed..............
I lost count on the number of boxes I filled with books during one of the most humid nights of this summer. There were times when I hesitated.... caught by a memory of when one of them had been added to the shelves. A Christmas present...anniversary.....birthday gifts. The much coveted novel, enjoyed immensely. For the most part however, I was on a roll. With a glass of wine on hand, and my musical preferences to keep me company, I spent hours decluttering, cleaning and stacking the boxes for future retrieve.
My focus tumbled around 2:45 am. Not quite the witching hour. Almost.
I came face to face with a large reference tomb of a book . My resolve melted momentarily. It had nothing to do with the book itself. Rather, it was the pieces of paper towels sticking out of through the pages that caught my eye. Caught breath. Wavering balance. My initial reaction was to recoil like I had seen a water moccasin curled up on the bottom shelf hissing at me! It was just a book for goodness sake. How in the world can something so inanimate create such a visceral reaction? Well, try living in a house whose familial foundation was startled by thundering betrayal. There are little emotionally ticking trinkets mocking you for months afterwards. Bloody loud they can be!
As soon as I saw them, a realization hit me in the gut. Inside the creases of the paper towels were beautifully pressed flowers. Pansies, daisies, forget me knots I had picked from our first house and placed in the book many years ago to dry. My intentions back then were to use them to decorate candles or note paper.
But, then I got busy. The craft project was forgotten. The flowers were abandoned.
Two children to raise.
A career that kept me busy.
A home to run.
A marriage to....................?
I took a bit of time to look at the flowers laying open on paper. My hands open to hold them. I took in their delicate beauty. I remembered where I had picked them...out of the garden of our first house. I cried a little. Not enough moisture to bring them back to life.....just enough to moisten my cheeks. Then, I tossed them into the trash.
I've tossed a lot of stuff along with rearranging pictures and painting walls. Enlightening....... and lightening. Everytime I've reached that place when I could let go of "the stuff" my whole body feels like it is somehow defying gravity for a thin air second.
To get to this head space, I have worked hard taking one step at a time. There are some who feel that I should be farther along the path. How do I know this? I hear it. Then, there are some who comment on how well I'm doing. I hear this too. Who the hell knows..... except me. I am where I am....... More importantly, I am fine with where I am. Right here. Living. Moving forward at my own pace. If there is anything I can control, its my own pace and my own readiness to tackle yet another piece of the "letting go" puzzle. Those overcrowding yakety yak books were my chosen target the other night. When the urge hits, you've got to move into that headspace and go to it even if it takes all night long..... which it did.
I put the kettle on as the sun raised it's orange eyebrow over the river horizon. The boxes of dusty books were stacked high in my kitchen along with a few holding memories of past gift giving days. My shelves had been scrubbed down with lemon scented cleaner. More minimalist, they were reborn with the novels and reference books that were mine and the kids as well as a few bright coloured clay vases, a couple of woven baskets, a few framed photos.... I swear I heard the white painted wood heave a sigh of relief as I stretched out my own muscles while realizing for the first time how tired I was.
Content too. I hadn't felt that broad contentment in a long time......
The sun rose into the peace of a hazy summer morning, accompanied by the choir of birdsong that always makes me feel happily connected with the ground my barefeet touch. At that moment, I felt alone, but not lonely. All of those sense of accomplishment emotions were lightly stirring the remnants of my energy. Gladness. Wing fluttering gladness kissed by the sweetness of honey nectar. It was a moment this summer that I will never forget because even though it seems like just another chore found on a "to do" list, it was so much more than that.
A few of the people in my life who have walked with me knew what I had been up to that night. I can honestly say that their spirit tapped me from time to time and kept me moving forward. I was always in good hands. When it was late enough in the morning, I phoned one of them........ in a tired but satisfied voice, I announced that my latest decluttering mission was accomplished.
Full of encouragement that only comes with understanding he invited me over to his place where there was a cool bed in an air conditioned room......... away from the rest of the familiar world. I took him up on his offer, and as he went about his own chores, tackling his to do list, I slept more soundly than I had in months, lullabied by the constant whir of cool cool air, while being checked on from time to time by the caring eyes of a dear friend. His kindness I will always hold onto.
A month later, when I walk into my living room (which will in itself be transformed very soon) I can feel the refreshened difference. This particular weight is gone. All it took was to reveal the flowers caught in the spine of a book to let go of years of dusty words. When the time was right. It is that simple. You just gotta be ready on your own terms.....
ps. You know, the last time I had pulled an all-nighter before this task filled adventure sure had a different reason for it! And it had nothing to do with chores!!!! hahaha! gotta have another one of those types soon too! :)