Sunday, December 28, 2008

strange rivers

It's amazing how much I've forgotten. As I sift through the piles of memories, letters tied with red ribbons just like in the movies, ancient mix tapes and photographs, ticket stubs and etchings. It's all there, a piece of every person I ever thought I loved was inside these dusty boxes.

Moving means boxes, but moving in the way we are moving means very few boxes at all.  So everything must go and what doesn't go is downsized, my parents have agreed to store three boxes in their garage in perpetuity so we decided to each take one and keep whatever memories we want and the other is for M.  

So my box is full of half finished journals and trinkets from around the world, silly pieces of paper that mean nothing to anyone but me. But it's also filled with the people who've helped to shape me, who'd claimed to love me, who I spent short or long periods of my life with. I've allowed myself to keep one correspondence from each person, something to mark the relationship and the point in time and the rest I will burn in a fire before we go. And in all but one case I've kept my promise. Maybe two. It's my box after all.  

But tripping down memory lane has brought both good and bad, the memories I'd installed inside my brain seemed incongruent with some of the letters, the acknowledgement that I'd not been as kind as I thought I was and the one or two bits I'd never really resolved and unforgotten now have left me pondering. The what happened to started creeping around my brain next to the man I'd forgotten about so I went as far as google, a voyeuristic way of seeing how people from 20 years ago have fared and in some cases I've smiled broadly at my discovery and others prove elusive even still.  

This served to remind me of how much life has come before, of how deeply things were expressed and how true we thought they were and in some cases only timing stood in the way. How we are always searching and ever hopeful that you will see me as I see you.


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13 comments:

Karen said...

as someone who has already done the clearing out and moving on stuff, 8 years ago when I sold my house and moved into a travel trailer, I know exactly what you mean. I held nothing back, tossed it all, and boy did I ever feel better when it was all finished. My belongings owned me back then, instead of the other way around. What freedom I feel now!

marymurtz said...

Karen nailed it, just as you did. This post rocked my world.

Omaha Mama said...

My mom made me do that when I was staying with them right before my wedding. We burned a lot of love letters too. She told me it would be cleansing, to rid myself of old "commitments". Sometimes I do wish I had those silly folded up letters from 8th grade to look at. I did keep one box too, but it's mostly full of keepsakes, more than letters. Oh, and the dozen or so diaries. Oh my, the diaries. :0)

Ally said...

It's interesting how we edit our histories, portraying ourselves in the best and most generous light. I loved the last line in this post.

flutter said...

brave, beautiful, hilarious, true?

that is how I see you

Z said...

Anyone who hasn't quite taken on board yet the enormity of what you're doing should read this.

mamatulip said...

This reminds me of cleaning out my mother's house. That last paragraph? Yes.

scribbledout said...

Your post is beautiful. I wish you an easy transition!

ginger said...

Yes! I did this before we moved, and I discovered a 15-year-old envelope of letters and cards... I kept them all. Somehow acknowledging the depth of old feelings makes my current feelings all the more special, not to be taken for granted?

QT said...

With every move I pare it down a bit more, but I still have lots and lots left to burn through. It IS fun to remember tho, isn't it?

carrie said...

Sometimes I wonder if I'd ever remember anything had I not something left to remember it by.

But then, really, it's the past - and I guess I have to let it go regardless of it's spot in my memory for there are those, the REALLY important ones, who will never vacate.

You'll hang onto those too, friend, you will.

Expatriate Chef said...

I dread going through that stuff. Truly. Takes a good week to shake off the dust and melancholy. Take care, Jen! Stopped by to wish you a Happy New Year and what a year ahead for you. Please keep writing, I want to hear how it goes! :)

luckyzmom said...

After reading the "this" from z's comment I am speachless and jealous of your courage.

Very few of us don't need to get rid of some degree of the extraneous. Going as far as you must is a daunting thought when you have as much clutter as I.

Wishing you joy.