Spring is the time for cleaning. Or at least, the time when your windows shame you into cleaning. Or if you have no shame, the time when you avoid looking out the windows in the middle of the day if the sun is shining. But for me it’s less about the clean part and more about the spring de-cluttering exercise. This is a result of spending too much time indoors and the resulting excessive familiarity with the things inhabiting the house that breeds contempt. For example, the hanging pot rack seemed like a good idea at the time. All of those pots and pans right at the ready! All of those pots and pans that are less than shiny. All of those pots and pans, period. Who really needs five frying pans?
Even though I am pretty good at editing my collection of stuff, there are some things that are impossible to get rid of. Some of this has to do with nature of the objects themselves, especially if they are objects of nature. For example, take my collection of rocks. They aren’t boring old pebbles. They are crystals and geodes and granite with flecks of fool’s gold and pink beach rocks. They are also completely useless.
The same goes for the collection of shells. Conch and clam and spiny things and Neptune things and sand dollars that are a few pennies short of perfect. One artful glass jar full of shells is a lovely feng shui addition to any room. Ten jars full is a dubious decorating decision.
Then what about those University text books? I think the problem is the amount of money I paid for them and also the fact that philosophy really doesn’t change, especially the thoughts of the ancient philosophers and even the 20th century ones that happen to be dead. Of course I have no desire to read them again (and in fact I had about the same amount of desire to read them in the first place). But they still sit in a box in the basement because how can you possibly throw out wisdom?
My copy of Bleak House also still prevails. I just cannot get rid of something that consumed countless hours of my life I will never get back, as if somehow by keeping it as an (unread) hostage I’m returning the favour. It’s also a talisman that reminds me not to finish any book I don’t completely want to read.
But spring is also a time of optimism and renewal, which gives me the strength to move forward. Those extra frying pans – couldn’t they be ironic birdbaths if mounted on the top of a tree stump at the cottage? And how better to throw out rocks than to artfully incorporate them into the edge of the garden. And while I’m at it, those shells would have an ironic and artful existence as random follys in the midst of the forest. A few problems solved. Now if only I could figure out how to throw out a garbage can.