The red table cloth still smells like my grandmother’s house even though it has already been washed many times. Impossible, I tell myself, only to be conflicted by my senses again. I take it out from the dryer and let the familiar scent rush over me. Time and place are fluid in the memory’s eye. Closing my eyes I think of her then, as she once was, before age got in her way. Then, hearing June downstairs, I close the dryer door and the laundry room as well, leaving the moment behind with the lint in the dryer’s trap.
I have been sorting through boxes I found last weekend, stashed away in a basement closet with Christmas ornaments and the rest of my seasonal decorations. At nap time, I bring them upstairs and dump their contents, letting the sun highlight memories from my past strewn across the living room floor. I have two hours to sort, purge and clean the remains before June awakes. It is hard letting go of old creations, writings, photographs. What do you keep and what do you leave behind? Picking them each up, holding them, I begin to struggle with letting my mission. But, despite my inner-attachments, the reality remains: when I picture my dream life, I do not imagine these boxes in dusty basement corners. So carefully, I place only my most treasured items into a small photo box: a letter in my grandma’s handwriting, a note of encouragement my mom sent me when I lived in Georgia that year, a picture drawn by a child I once cared for. Taking a break from work, Sean wanders down the stairs, curious about the mess I have created. We sit and laugh at old college pictures from my past, then he kindly encourages me to let go of things I consider keeping. The hoarder in me knows he right, but it is not always easy to lighten your load. I imagine our dream life and forge on. Great change happens with small steps.
Sorting through these boxes gives me a greater thankfulness for social media and for this space. It is not always easy to write my thoughts and share them here, unsure who may stumble upon them. But it releases a certain space in my mind and in my house, too. There are no more boxes, only web pages to return to, no corners needed.