Looking inside the box


Winter is finally loosening its grip on Vermont. My yard is still packed high with snow, now grubby and worn. But the sun is out and promises that soon green will begin to peek out from the bare spots.

I made a move to my very own home a few weeks ago with the help of my exchange group. I was fortunate to have the support of several individuals as well as more than a half dozen strong young men from a local alternative educational facility. The move from my apartment to my home a mile away was a whirlwind – and when it was all done the little house bulged with boxes and furniture.

Between work commitments, I’ve been emptying boxes. In the days before the move I made sure to carefully pack the things I would need right away. Important papers, bill yet to be paid, telephone and address books, etc – all went into boxes that I thought I would open first and be able to access whatever I needed until I could reorganize things.

Ok, you can laugh now. We’ve all done it. We put something away in a special place, thinking we’ll remember exactly where it is when we need it. But when that day comes, we can’t find it. It isn’t where our brains say it is. We say “I know I put that here so I could find it again.” Or “Where did I put that?” And each minute that goes by without finding it, we go from room to room, stepping a little bit faster, frantically digging through piles and boxes, and finally looking in those places that we are sure we didn’t put “that”.

Sometimes we find it in one of those unlikely places. Other times, it shows up unexpectedly a week or a month or even a year from then. We may have replaced it with another “that” – and promptly found the original “that.”

I have put things down on a table, wandered off to do something, and come back to find that particular object had disappeared. I live alone, so I can’t call out “Who took my ‘that’?” or “Help me find ‘that’!” Nope – it’s all on me. I just have to wander and dig and ponder where “that” could be.

In this move, I lost my basket of tea bags. And my garlic heads. And my kitchen magnets. I’m grateful I didn’t lose something that had a shorter shelf life, like shrimp. I’m also grateful that the little box that held my bills and checkbook didn’t fall into that black hole of “thats”. So I decided to let it go. I could live without garlic for a while, keep my refrigerator clean of notes and photos, and pick up another box of tea from the grocery. I knew they would show up somewhere, someday.

Now of course, this thought doesn’t work in every circumstance. Sometimes it is important to continue to search for “that”. Our passions, for instance. Sometimes in the daily chaos, we forget where we put our hopes and dreams. They were right there in front of us, and then they were gone. We can choose to let it go and say to ourselves “It will turn up eventually.” Or we can work hard to find it again – all by ourselves. And you never know – it might be in the next place you look.

What passions have you put aside, or forgotten about because life’s routines got in the way?


4 responses »

  1. Rosie, so good to see you back again. After a marvelous workshop in Ireland, and travel in England, France and Germany last June, I arrived home with the desire to do….nothing!

    For the rest of the summer and into the fall, I flowed with this lack of desire doing just the “already scheduled” stuff. In October I got sick, sinus, coughing, etc. which drew me into lethargy, sitting, reading, not much else. I got better, then got sick again cycling through the process 3 times. In January, things started to turn and I am feeling passionate again.

    What made the difference? No big AH-HA! Just allowing the down time, letting it be okay.

    My passion for food and cooking is creating a new workshop called “Playing with Food.” More on this to come.

    • Thanks for the comment, Kathie! And Ireland is a passion that I have had to shelve – but I know EXACTLY where it is, and look at it routinely!

      • The shelf sometimes gets a bad rap. Things on the shelf don’t have to get dusty. The shelf is not a bad place to let passions rest until it’s time. A shelf is open – all we have to do to see our passion is turn our eyes that way. It sounds like that’s what you are doing.

  2. I didn’t fill out my info boxes correctly. 80º today and our garden is producing more lettuce than we can possibly eat! Baaaaa! Taxes have been the main agenda this past week.
    Then Walking This Valley newsletter. Then working on Volume 2 of This Might Help. And dumping the garbage! I sent you the balloon pictures, I think.
    I’ll have long-distant coffee with you, soon.
    Sam (and PJ)

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