" SpiritofSaltSpring:BC:Canada:GulfIslands:SaltSpring:Salt Spring:

September 13, 2008

On Guard for their Canadian Queen

As I am beginning to pack boxes with the feeling that I am so ready to get out of here, it's very interesting to me to look at the things that I can't bring myself to part with.

My friend Michelle, who has moved a fair bit, told me that a friend of hers once said, moving is when you literally place your hands on every single thing you own and determine its value.

I find it very interesting that for me, the only things that truly matter are my camera, my computer, my portfolio of writing, and things that have sentimental value attached to them.

Now, perhaps that's because I don't own anything of any monetary value. But, I don't think it would be any different for me even if I owned things that monetarily were worth alot. Except, right about now, I'd be selling them!

I already knew this and experienced it when my parents moved from their house into an assisted living facility. All that stuff, as George Carlin so wisely pointed out years ago, has almost no meaning. You accumulate it, it serves its purpose, and hey, don't get me wrong, it's nice to have nice stuff.

I can think of a couple I know whose stuff is fabulous and I'd love to have their stuff but I'm pretty sure that in the end, it's not that significant to them either. It makes their home aesthetically pleasing, they can entertain there very well, and their daily existence comfortable but I know them well enough to know that if they didn't have it, it wouldn't matter that much to them.

So I have to laugh when I look around my apartment because I'm purging all those things that I don't really "love" which I have no trouble with at all unlike some people. I like paring down. It makes me uncomfortable to have too much stuff. I feel like its too much responsibility which is kind of immature but there you go. Except I am a lot more sentimental than most people would know.

Take the little soliders in the photo above. They're tacky. The paint has worn off their lips. They're worthless. Actually, they are salt and pepper shakers but I never use them for that. They just sit on top of my stove. I bought them in some cheap tourist trinket shop near a place where I was staying in London in September 2002.

But, when I look at them, I don't see that. I see the memories I have of that trip. I see how that trip made me feel. I see that trip as a time in my life when things had begun to turn around for me after a difficult time.

I don't think I've ever had such a sense of gratitude as the day I was standing on a boat coming down the Thames into London from Greenwich and the sun was shining and we went past the parliament buildings and Big Ben. It was at that moment,out of sheer almost disbelief and joy, tears began rolling down my face.

It had been a very difficult time between 1998 and 2001 and that's a long time for your life to be a challenge. I never imagined that I'd ever get off the North American continent given what had gone down and how little money I had.

But, then I had a car accident which, yes, on the surface is a bad thing. But, I wasn't injured. I was 100% not at fault, my car was totalled and I got what was to me, a lot of money, for my Volkswagon Golf. That was my ticket to Europe.

So those little soldiers to me represent possibility. No matter what is going on in your life, you can not predict the future and how that will unfold. No matter where you're at, things can change quickly. We have to hope in ways that will make us happy.

So, the soliders, stay.

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