Thursday, December 6, 2007

Just Packing It In

(Up to my neck in boxes on the other end -- so I'm posting something written back when I had nothing to do but wait and write)

I’m now up to my neck in boxes, waiting for that final frantic push of packing, when I give up doing anything else in my life until I move. Technically, I’m about two weeks from that, I think, so I have to keep enough items out to live on, and somehow I keep changing focus as to what that consists of. Do I keep the food processor out, or can I live on more simple foods for two weeks? (yes, but since I packed it a month ago, it came out of its box again last night). Do I pack all my reading material and live out of the library? (Yes, except for one unsealed box of “essentials” - my guide books to this current life, a motley crew of spiritual, renovation, and comedy books). Do I pack up the art and look at naked walls for two weeks? What if it stretches out again? So far, the oil paintings are still on the wall, but if the tank gets into the ground Friday, there will be a packing spree this weekend for sure!

Meanwhile, I veer around brown square stacks, stare again at those pieces that utterly defy packing (someday I’ll watch a professional -- just to see how the huge, crook-neck magnifying light contraption could find a wrapped degree of safety), and give up again for the moment. That’s one of the blessings of panic -- all the finer nuances of possibility drop away, and there is only the crisis. In those moments, it is irrelevant if I put great aunt Sarah’s ceramic jug in with the cupcake tins -- eventually it’ll all get there, and I’ll unpack it again… eventually. An irrational segment of brain takes charge during crises; logic, sense and even frugality are tossed with the receipts that you will eventually be wanting desperately, and you plunge ahead any which way to the end. “A certain amount of breakage is to be expected” and other such platitudes act as Teflon coating to the brain as the clock ticks like an unexploded bomb and you grab anything not yet boxed, stuff it into one of several large boxes labelled, “Last Minute Misc. - Open Immediately” that inevitably end up four layers down in the new place and emerge next Spring as either compost or treasure. I have actually, in these situations, been able to reassure myself that any priceless pottery piece that is broken can become some wonderful mosaic collage, in fact even better than the original. I am actually a mover’s joy because I am just so grateful to get it all there without me having to end up in ER, that I don’t particularly care what state it’s in when it arrives. The days of having robust friends move me are long over; in our 50’s, we are connoisseurs of back, neck and joint pain, and a household full of furniture must be left to the next generation. And my ecologically-conscious friends have refrained from having more than one child each (if that), so that generation is in short supply to help their parents’ friends move… unless you contact them at their local moving company and hire them at the going rates.

-- Listening to an old Irish air, ‘Farewell but Whenever”, I am again reminded that my ancestral melancholy is an irresistible, blood-deep attribute. This song has lines such as “let Fate do her worst, there are relics of joy that come in the nighttime of sorrow and care, and bring back the features that joy used to wear” …“you may break, you may shatter the vase if you will, but the scent of the roses will hang round it still.” Good old Irish - we know what it’s like to be crushed underfoot, and our stubborn refusal to concede that we are miserable is only matched by our stubborn refusal to concede that we are happy. It makes for wonderful conversation, and many a confused outsider… but I digress.

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