The idea of moving is always exciting. I think it's the promise of change, as if uprooting can also somehow get us unstuck and shake us free. In previous years I became much more excited and hopeful about moves. These days the idea is more weighted. It's light as well as heavy. It's both promising and daunting. I enjoy throwing every last unecessary item away. It's a huge purging project of letters too long held onto, outworn clothes stripped, unremarkable books tossed from the shelf, and let's not forget the cluttered collection of "stocking stuffer" gifts that one holds onto out of loving obligation: the little fragrant oils, lotions, and odd presents like foot warmers and decorated birthday wine glass, or the miniture "fondu for two." It makes me desperately wish "christmas" didn't exist.
All things go. All things grow.
The packing process gives ample time for reflecting on the years, the growth, the changes, the errors, the achievements. I think about how my writing has taken such a long hiatus. Poetry has been replaced by research. This isn't all bad -- though I do deeply miss and long for a connection with that ancient craft of divining words. I've grown tremendously in my ability to write a solid, clear thesis. I am learning how to express my more complex ideas and to convey them with precision and inner fervor.
Then there's the box of old pictures we come across. You know the one -- it still has the framed photos of him. I came across these and found myself pleased that I didn't feel an emotional tie any longer in the sense of remorse or regret or longing for the past. I appreciate how attractive of a couple we were -- very handsome indeed! I see how I really was someone else. Still myself, but somehow someone else. I like her. She's so different from the woman I see now. She was regal and full of grace and elegance. Quiet, introverted and introspect. Today she is very outward-turned, glowing, passionate, with a wide-open expression that takes in the world. She looks younger now, somehow. I think it has to do with the heart.
Do we throw away the pictures of them, too? Do we hold on to it? Is it disrespectful to our spouse? I can't bring myself to put it in the trash. That feels almost like throwing away a sacred relic. It's true the owners of these photographs are dead and gone, having become new and different people, but they are still honored in the heart, aren't they? Don't they still deserve a place on our private mantel?