Last night I was standing at the magazine rack in Barnes & Noble. Our kids talked us into going there, and they were off in the kids section fully entrenched in the latest Scholastic publication. It was one of the contemplative moments when elements of reward were dancing in the periphery but I could not place it….something about having your kids love books just seems right.
As I stood there contemplating all the choices of high gloss printed matter, I became aware of the emotive response that the different sections provoked. The sports section elevated the competitiveness and quest for improved fitness (or a least some fitness). The design and photography section provoked a full palate of reactions. Wood working & boating reminded me of interests that challenged my time allocation. When my eyes (and heart) found the home section, I paused. There for my perusal were publications that featured every residential vernacular you could possibly want. The cottage living images quickly took me down a cul-de-sac of memories and dreams. At that moment, the lyrics from the music being piped in from above pierced through the fog with search light accuracy.
As I stood there burdened by the weight of an ever elusive dream to own a cottage, I found clarity in these lyrics. One concept of a cottage is to create a place where you can catch your breath. We live in our homes, but come alive in our retreats. Listening to the words in the song, I realized that if I loosen up on the reins of that dream and be more present in what’s happening now, the day-to-day could be more rewarding. Had I not stumbled onto this moment of clarity, I might have missed the fact that the kids talked us into Barnes & Noble, not the GameBoy section at Best Buy.
This reminded me of a discussion I was part of that took place several months ago, regarding the freedom found in parting with old stuff and that by shedding those layers, a new you can be found. The song I heard was about the struggles two people had as they encounter a disagreement. Anybody who has resolved an issue that they had with another, and found they were closer afterwards can relate. I am proposing that this is true with inanimate objects too. The actual artifact isn’t the issue, it’s our emotional association with that item, or dream, or thought that is relevant.
New build in our town… architect unknown.
(one goal of the modern movement was to free us from the past by eliminating the unnecessary historic ornamentation, that could dilute the experience of now… notice the large windows which enable you to experience the outside world more vividly)
When it comes to how we design, decorate or organize our “places” sometimes we give too much credence to things that don’t deserve it. Perhaps sometimes in parting, we will actually add clarity to what is important and truly necessary… and then we can think clearly about what is needed to carry on.
Simply put… maybe keeping all of Grandpa’s books is not as important as keeping the two that he actually read to you.