Onward, downward, backward and inward it goes. Onward with the sorting and culling and classifying. So far I have seven fairly good-sized boxes ready to export – three of books, a fourth for the thrift store, two more of paper to be recycled, and one marked “burn/shred” which is mostly various records containing our social security numbers and material useful to identity thieves.
Although, when I think about it, I really don’t need to have many concerns about identity theft. I have a pretty good idea of who I am, and I have a very poor identity – literally – in the realm these folks are invading and seeking to plunder. If they want, they can steal the occasional worries I have about that. But I think they already have more of those than they need. It’s money they’re after, and it’s too late for them here by about seven years.
Down into the shadows of assorted small, medium and large boxes holding, as it turns out, photos stuffed into them out of social reflex. They seem to have been saved because that’s what people do with photos, even if they’re duplicate bad ones in old photo-processing envelopes from the days when film was sent in to shops on days when a two-for-one pricing incentive was in play. We picked them up, looked at them once, and into the box they went.
I am amazed at how many double-sets of bad photos we had. You know the ones; the flash in the mirror, the accidental picture of the sky or ground, the intended subject bisected by the edge of the frame, the ones taken again because somebody wasn’t ready, or was doing something amusing or annoying with their nose, the scalp selfie, and so on. I don’t mind photos if they’re real, and I can tolerate keeping old ones of myself that aren’t particularly complimentary, but some were just plain ugly and they. are. gone. I feel lighter just getting every bad photo, and every redundant duplicate of even the good ones, into the trash even though I didn’t know we had them. There’s a sort of collateral catharsis that happened even though I didn’t need it and wasn’t looking for one. It’s refreshing. Less past, more now – it’s good.
Backward is the vector in this process, backward into time. The things I find are reflected in the present. The past, well that’s the place of the rough and raw ore which contains the archetypal tropes of my life. And it’s a tiresome place to be and that’s a good thing. Exhaustion, giving something up, letting go, being here and now rather than there and then – however you look at it – is liberating. And I find myself relearning yet again, and saying here yet again, a thing offered here to us before:
here we are again, inside,
drawn down the narrow shaft of perspective
past mind’s open maw
into the pit
where coal and diamond seams of eons
poise impersonally above us
holding the bones of the ages
here we are again, inside,
mining the tropes of our lives
and blinking at each other
faces blackened with soot and the sweat of our labors
our eyes startle out like headlights
when we remember
what we left above
for this dark
the open field
the leaves of fall
the winter sleep
the green spring
the light summer dresses rippling in the breeze