After living in a succession of apartments, each of them facing west toward the sunset, Steve and I moved into our first permanent home 20 years ago. The house sits on a lot that is cattywampus. One corner is oriented north. another corner faces west. This, and a forest of trees, makes it difficult to see the sun setting.
When my father-in-law was eating supper at our house, I mentioned that we miss our daily sunsets. On his next visit, he arrived with this framed photograph he’d taken across a beautiful Minnesota lake. It is displayed near my desk where I can see it every day, reminded of his thoughtfulness, and the healing beauty of a sunset.
Stuff. What to do with stuff? Marie Kondo encourages us to consider what sparks joy and remove everything else from our lives. I read books about organization like my life depends on it. Maybe it does. Steve and I are doing our best to live without buying “stuff” so it makes each choice about what to get rid of difficult on many levels. Will we need it again? I have the hardest time with “I remember my grandmother using this slotted thimble when she crocheted” and “here is an unfinished quilt my grandmother started” and “these are the favors I designed for our 2000 family reunion.” The sentimental “stuff.” Our connections to history.
I am grateful for the advice to take a photo of the item in question. Hanging on to that stuff is about the memories. Looking at a photo evokes the same memories, even the smells, textures, and sounds.
A number of years ago, a cousin to whom my mother had lent my childhood rocking chair gave it back to my mom. Her kids were grown. Mom hung on to it. When we packed up her house, I couldn’t bear to part with that chair. I spent many happy hours in it reading books. But it really wanted a young person to sit in it, rocking and reading, so we gave it to a grandma who was happy to share it with her grandson. We took a photo before sending it on its way and it DOES make me happy to look at that photo now and then. Memories don’t have to take up physical space.
For more than two years, it has been all too easy to get caught up in drama and despair. I am grateful to David Cooper, at Lost Lake Photography, for sharing his daily photographs of nature and cityscapes on Facebook. These connections to reality remind me that life is good and nature is worth conserving. They lift my spirits. I am grateful for David’s skills with a camera and for his compassion.