Anatomy of a move

After months of ditching a box or garbage bag of possessions each week, I had to move in a rather quick fashion. Oh, I could have stayed and fought it out– it’s what my neighbors decided to do–but it was taking a serious toll on my health. I was just holding on by my fingernails, and I could feel it.

My living area here is fresh with new paint and new carpet. It’s homier than my urban apartment. It’s light and airy. All the boxes are in the spare room. I made a count: 28 boxes, 4 plastic sealing tubs, and six satchels (“I don’t care how organized anyone is, at the last minute you’re still grabbing crap and throwing it into satchels” my sister Heather says.) Three bookshelves (one of which the movers broke). I left two behind because they were in junky condition. I gave three boxes of books to Bradley Johnson who will take them to Half Price after selecting the ones he wants.

The clothes, also weeded though, were brought over in handfuls and hung–that was an easier transiton. One dresser, which was clearly falling apart, was left behind, and my grandparent’s solid, plain (just like them) stuffed with clothes and moved intact by the movers.

How can one person amass so much in ten years?

As I moved I thought often of Dave Hufford’s poem regarding the Myth of the Souls in Hell, their eyes put out, who had to drag around for eternity all that they had amassed in Life.

“Don’t even put up pictures,” my aunt, who is what they used to call a  home-ec major in her day, advised. “Just enjoy the negative space.”

But “Coffee with Jesus”, a small painting by Jean Mason, will go up near the breakfast nook, and “Fallen Skater”, a pencil Hoover I love, is keeping the reception nook with the flare lamp company. The colors of the two  go together perfectly. I’ve hung my moon chimes and some other chime mobiles. But  pictures are mostly stacked against the walls,  waiting impatiently. The tall, six-tiered bookshelf will serve as a lovely rotating display for art and curios, as will the old, one-drawer table the landlady left behind. It’s sporting a bouquet fresh flowers in a china pitcher, a nice touch.

It’s still not home, and I’m reluctant to unpack more. Perhaps part of me thinks I’ll be forced to move again soon, flight-or-fight, still wounded from the last scraping off of the chambers of the heart. Or is it practicality exercised while waiting for the “perfect” condo/house that will invariably appear after months of diligent searching?

In either case, more movement is involved. Kind, well-meaaning people keep saying, “change is good,” and I’m sure it is. It’s also stressful, frustrating, and often heartbreaking. There’s a Yiddish saying that a new house means a new life. We’ll all hope for the best. It’s all we can do.

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