Me and Marie

Here’s the great thing about cleaning out closets: you find things. Things you thought you’d lost. Things you thought you threw away last time you cleaned out the closet. mess 1Things you didn’t know you had in the first place. True, it’s counterproductive to have all this missing stuff back in your universe exactly when you’re trying to thin it out; and yes, it means you are stopping, sitting down, inspecting, and losing momentum. But stopping and taking stock is a good idea in general; and when there’s a chance to turn an ordinary chore into a treasure hunt, so much the better.

Treasures I found include: Girl Scout camping gear from my daughter’s childhood; programs from operas; an interrupted crochet project; the list I made last year of excellent ideas for Christmas this year. Oops.

Among the things I couldn’t believe I still had: rotary telephones; manuals for long-vanished electronics; a fax machine (a fax machine!); and a twenty year old laptop, saved because I was warned tossing it meant some malefactor could recover my private information from its disc drive.

The laptop is now on Doug’s workbench, waiting for him to, I don’t know, maybe drive nails through it. Like killing a vampire. Though probably it’s sufficiently obsolete to have rendered my data irrecoverable on its own.mess kit

Two mess kits from the Girl Scout camping gear are on their way to my daughter. Not the latest in camping technology, but irreplaceable in sentimental value. I hope she and my grandson will make good use of them.

Happy New Year

The Roman god Janus, the god of doors and gateways, of beginnings, transitions, passages, and ends, gives his name to January. As a god he languishes uncelebrated today, but he is with us in spirit: we write up events of the past year for our holiday greeting cards, and then we make resolutions for the year to come.

january bulbs

calling the bloom out of the bulb

Even if you don’t actually write out cards and resolutions, it feels natural that this would be the time for it. Sing about Old Acquaintance and choose a diet. List your family’s achievements over the last twelve months, and pick up your Marie Kondo. Eat the last of your frozen tomato sauce, and plan next summer’s garden.

I’m already deep into seed catalogs and I’m probably going to clean out some closets, but there’s a great deal of evidence that a more substantial new start needs to be made.

Add up all the plastic you used last year, and get some glass jars and tote bags instead. Think of people you believed were political idiots last year, and try to see the world through their eyes, which may cause vertigo, but maybe also conversations. Pick any of the ways the world’s been hurting in the last twelve months, and put some energy into healing it. Start anywhere.

Ring out the old, ring in the new.