Random Thoughts, I Wonder...

Spring is here...Not a sign of it anywhere over the weekend except for the slight growth of the grass in one spot of the lawn, a circular shape.  John and I noticed it earlier last week.  I pointed it out as we went down the driveway.  John nodded and said he'd noticed it before.  We joked about crop circles and alien spacecraft landing pads.  And then one morning this weekend, I called out to him to come look.  I'd been watching the sun rise that morning and moved away from the window for a few minutes and when I came back there it was.  A perfect round circle of sunlight that shone between the trees on the hill like a spotlight on that one spot.  Mystery solved?  Maybe.  Certainly it's no less curious than that sun shaped circle on my lawn.

I did notice that finally a bit of show started just yesterday.  An old oak tree on each side of the original property lines displayed a flush of faint greenery.  They knew it was time to do that.  Which made me think of seasons in general.  Last year by this time every single blooming thing was done, finished and over.  The leaves were out and it was hot as mid summer.

I read back over old posts and newsletters each month and I mention the natural things around me a good bit.  Each month there's a recording of how it was cooler than normal or hot or in between, what was blooming and what tree had begun to change colors and on and on.  There are a few patterns I recognize now as normal and then those that are purely unusual, like last year's sudden onset of summer before Spring even arrived. There are years that winter seems to go on and on and on and others when it feels as though summer will never cease.

And here's what I've noticed most of all.  Seasons are simply not going to be boxed in by man's time frame or calendar.  The earth warms and cools to it's own rhythm of time that has absolutely nothing to do with our thinking.  Those who have studied the earth and it's habits long and hard can tell you approximately what a season is going to be like but not when it's going to occur.

I guess you know that this applies to seasons of life as well.  There are going to be certain stages of development and growth and aging in all of us, but when those seasons will occur is anyone's guess.  You'll recall my great amusement to discover that per one of those online quizzes I tested two months younger than my current age, but another person might well test as older or younger. I've known people in their 30's who might as well have been 95 and I've known 90 year old folks who were as joyful and spry and full of mischief as any 15 year old, with a lot better idea of how exactly to go about pulling the wool over your eyes!

I suppose what it all comes down to in the end is to just enjoy where you are at present.  Forget the calendar and the timetable and just enjoy where you are.
Those vintage postcards that float all over Pinterest and Facebook are sometimes funny as can be, and sometimes not so much.  But the one I like the very best is this one:

So true.           
Truly I have always felt guilty when asked to name my top ten, or the 5 books I'd take with me if I went to a deserted island.  I can't do it!  There are too many books I love for various reasons.  Some authors make me feel I can leap buildings in a single bound and quote spontaneous poetry the rest of my life and some simply make me think harder than I want to.  Some are old friends who seem to know my deepest hurts and some are comforters extraordinaire.  Some books play upon my emotions so much that love them as I do I have to seriously consider my mental state before I start to read it over again.

That said, this week I went over my bookshelves with a fine toothed comb and culled out two bags of them to sell.  Yes, it's true.  It wasn't so hard to let go of the duplicate copies of books I've snatched up in the thrift stores...I was just rescuing those anyway.  They are meant to go to good homes where they will be well read and well loved in the coming years.  It was harder with some I'd meant to read, and haven't for years upon years because once they came home they just failed to grab my attention again. I felt a little guilty over those, as though they'd been brought home under false pretenses you see. Then there were newer books that I liked well enough but they will never be a long lasting friendship sort of book.  They were just passing acquaintances.  I'm sorry I spent money on them, wish I'd borrowed them from the library instead.  But you know the ones most difficult of all to let go of?  Those which really spoke to me 40, or 30 or 5 years ago but which I've grown beyond.  I am sure if I looked long and hard enough and really studied some of the ones remaining I'd let go of more books still, but I did about all I could the other day.  It becomes too traumatic to do too many at once and two bags full is pretty traumatic for a book lover like myself.

That said, I am debating whether or not I will go to the old book sale this year.  I haven't been in about three years and yet I still manage to bring in a plethora of books in a year's time into my home without that once a year orgy of sorting through and buying.  It's not the cost that prohibits it, because I rarely spend more than I'd spend on a takeout dinner for two.  No, it's the idea of having nowhere to store them rightly and then  having to let go of some of them later that gives me pause.  I'd almost rather just stick with what I've got at present...But that's what I'm thinking today and who knows what I shall think in a month's time when the book sale date is just days ahead?

I like to people watch.  I notice far more than you might imagine by simply sitting quietly to one side and watching.  I think and think. What made someone choose that particular shirt, that hairstyle, those shoes?   The myriad styles people choose from is fascinating enough.  And then there are body shapes: short, medium, tall.  Short-waisted, long-waisted, round, doughy, linebacker, waif-like, slender, stocky.  Long legged, short legged, heavy legged, bird legged.  Muscular, not so muscular.  Pear shaped, apple shaped, banana shaped. If you ever think your own body is shaped oddly, just go sit in a mall or a zoo or coffee shop and watch the folks parade by.  Eventually you're going to see someone with the same build as yourself and you'll get a clearer view of what it looks like from the outside without all the negatives rolling about in your head.  Then there are so many other things to note: right or left handed, books/papers they might be reading, choice of flavors or menu items, how they interact with others from children to adults, how each person moves differently, almost as though their body movements are a signature individual to themselves...I find it all absolutely absorbing.

John and I were discussing this the other day.  On our last visit to Kingsland we went with the family to the Jacksonville Zoo.  While the young parents and the oldest grandchild went into the gift shop, John and I sat outdoors on a bench while the twins snoozed in the stroller (well not Hailey. She doesn't sleep away from home.  She and Zach are people watchers, too.) I can say honestly that while we came to view various species that day, the human sort were the most fascinating.  Animals are amazing and they do display personality, but they are limited.  Humans are so creative in their expression of self.and we happily watched every one who walked by, stood near us, sat across the way.  We were all absorbed in our own thoughts as humanity stood before us to be examined.

Do you ever have the feeling that you're being smothered by things?  I'm not talking just material possessions though that is initially what started this train of thought.  I hear a lot of people saying that it's time to declutter and they do.  I do.  I am pretty sure that next to cleaning, decluttering stuff is one of my main items on any 'to do' list I've made in the last year.  I look about me and just feel as though it's all so much distraction from the real things of life.  Even Pinterest has started to feel a bit suffocating.  And yes, my books (hence my culling two bags of them) feel a bit much somehow.  I am getting more detached from things and files and emails and such that I've collected. I can tell because I find myself asking the most obvious questions:  Will this be important to anyone in years to come?  If I lost everything today, what would I miss?  And you know, much as I love to read, books will be around somewhere.  Some might say family photos, but I confess I have little sentiment attached to photos. There are a few I love to look at now and then, but I can recall almost all of those moments on my own if I stop to think of them.

John and I have already discussed the last twenty years worth of journals.  I destroyed the first 30 years worth.   Yes, I did and I've never regretted it.  I've told him if I haven't done it by the time I die and he's living still, to just burn them for me.  There's nothing there the children will need to see, it's just a whole lot of feeling sorry for myself or worrying mightily over themselves, or a litany of any normal days work but nothing of literary value that's for sure. They'd have to dig really hard to find the rare epiphany.

My wedding ring set means something to me, as does the plain gold band we started this marriage with but they are replaceable.  I'd be hard pressed to tell one plain gold band from another.  And styles and tastes change over years so I might well want a new set at some point.

Until a few weeks ago I'd determined that if fire ever broke out my sole confiscation if possible was to grab John's binder with the songs he's written.  After much urging, we now have copies of all the songs in a safety deposit box.  It seemed to me that losing the last twenty years of work would be rather catastrophic.  I might grab a guitar but I can see myself now, dithering away as the flames build around me uncertain which to take... but who knows?  Who knows what they will grab or if they will grab anything?  

What else?  Oh there would be regrets I'm sure of it.  I couldn't replace if I wanted to, the locks of hair from each of the three children taken when I first cut their hair, my great great grandmother's sour dough crock, Aunt Liza's jewelry box...Yes, I'd miss them, I would but...they don't own me, you know?

That all said, I'm not likely to become a minimalist anytime soon.  I like my home to be neat and tidy but I like things.  I like owning them for a time. And I like being able to let them go when my fascination with them is done.

And what prompted all of this thought?  John.  He's been busy this afternoon clearing out the music room.  He's hauled out old equipment that has long since stopped working, and tossed old books and papers and cords and such.  He even pulled out pieces of furniture that simply aren't needed any longer.  After five hours work, the room looks completely new and different.  I think he's going to find it's like a breath of fresh air.    He's moved furniture and hung pictures and cleared spaces.  It's not the same place he sat in two days ago and strummed the guitar.  I believe he's opened himself creatively to allow a fresh flow of inspiration.

Which brings me back to where I started.  I periodically go through my blog list and dump the lot. I do the same with Pinterest photos, recipe files, books, clothes, dishes...And yes, furniture.  There are things in my home that I know I need to let go of, that it's time to replace.  My sentimental attachment to these things needs to be adjusted.  It's time for a nice fresh breeze to blow through.
It's gotten late.  I'm sure there are more places my mind might well roam but I'm tired from a busy-ish day and ready to settle in with a book I laid aside yesterday because I determined that I just had to try to read it one more time.


Deanna said...

I love to people-watch, too. That's one of the things I love about New Orleans. If you want to see some *interesting* people, that's the place to go.

Karla Neese said...

I really enjoyed this post! We are big people watchers in our family as well. It can be so interesting! And the books? Oh my you are a woman after my own heart. But there must be something in the air for I too spent time this week getting rid of a bunch of books I never read. It was so hard for me to do that! They are like my friends and I've had a "relationship" with books since I was a small girl.

I do understand about being pressed in by all of the things that swirl around our heads. Oh, what I would do without Jesus I have no idea! He keeps me sane. :)

Blessings to you and John!

Anonymous said...

Sitting quietly while riding the bus is one thing I miss any more. It was that time I used to love to observe people. Every where I am it seems people are talking about decluttering. I think I need to listen to it! :) Thinning out books is the hardest for me. I have so many good reference books on gardening and such I do refer to often. It is surprising the books I have had for years that are terribly expensive to buy used on line now. So glad I got them {mostly used] years ago! I too am rethinking what to keep. Things that mean so much to us have little if any meaning to the children. Their homes are small and they sure don't need to have to go through stacks of things we have some day when we am not here. I have asked them what they really want we have and they have told us. So we gave them most things already they wanted. Why not let them have it now to use and enjoy. The older we get the less 'things' we need it seems...especially More 'things' !! :-) Right now I am feeling smothered by too many of some things and it is uncomfortable and so I Will be thinning out more. It is amazing the things we accumulate!! Sarah

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