Saturday, February 18, 2006

Drawers and Cupboards


Once Tom and I went to an estate sale way out in the country of a nearby town. The large, white farmhouse had belonged to one family for over 140 years and that day, spread over acres and acres, was the flotsam and jetsam removed from inside where families had burrowed together. The tree-surrounded house had been purged of its decades and decades of stuff, like waves and waves of belongings from the 1800's to the present. Nineteen-forties lamp shades, sea-foam rugs, mahogany beds and tables, round boxes of Mother's Oats and bisque dolls in heaps. And books! One field looked like a garden ready to be harvested of its rows and rows of boxes of books.

Tom and I, beneath cloudy, cold skies walked around, mesmerized, poking at these old things spread everywhere. I found myself wishing with all my heart that I could have been one of the emptiers of that house, one of the pullers-out of that house's inner parts. What fun to wade through all the drawers and cupboards, making discoveries of treasures and serendipities which people hoarded and tucked away over 100 years. Layers and layers of stuff which child after child and parent after parent deemed worth keeping.

We drove home slowly that day, took a different route home, one through hills bursting in autumn and thankfully, I wasn't the one driving that day because I was encased in a dream. I wondered about my own drawers and cupboards. What do they conceal? What do they reveal about me and what I like and who I am?

Probably, I'd be surprised.

Still, since that estate sale day, I've looked at my drawers and cupboards more like treasure chests which, someday, people will pick through hoarded item by hoarded item. And part of me likes that idea... part of me wants to collect unique, old things which will make the sifters-of-my-stuff smile with excitement of possible discovery.

But the other part of me wants to share the treasure right now with those who would appreciate it. Part of me believes that hoarding is not exactly the godly way to go. So lately I find myself collecting my own flotsam and jetsam, yes, but with a different eye. With an eye and a spirit which can, at the drop of a 1930's felt hat, give away any bit of treasure to anyone who may voice an especial delight.

I want to look at everything in my drawers and cupboards as temporary--almost like foamy shells rolling into shore, then tumbling back out to sea. Here and then gone to a better belonging place.

And I want to look at my credit card, the one I use online, as a type of golden ticket... as a way to bless others with surprises on what may be a sad-afternoon-turned-sweeter after a walk to their mailbox and the discovery of treasures inside.

Rather like sailing the shells from my part of the beach back into the ocean and those better belonging places. Rather like emptying my drawers and cupboards while there's still time to watch the smiles of treasure seekers, myself.

Rather like "gathering flowers while ye may"... and giving them away this side of Heaven.

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