My Life Fell in the Woods, But It Didn’t Make a Sound

13 Responses

  1. ds says:

    Yes. Thank you.

  2. I suspect that a huge driving force behind blogging is to document the moments both profound and mundane and use them to connect to others. Because here we do, in fact, comment on the most absurd minutia.

    But, I have actually been thinking a LOT lately about the issue of souvenirs (for lack of a better word) and how increasingly detached I am from keeping things. More and more they seem like just “things” and not important. I am feeling the pull to divest, knowing the memories are there. And when I lose the memories, I don’t think the things will matter anyway. I hope I just die knowing I’ve had a rich life.

  3. Lil says:

    That book is on my “next to read” list.

    Like you (and SAW) I’ve been divesting. The starting point was emptying the apartment we were to move into. The aunt who had lived there was something of a hoarder and it took (part time) about a year to empty it out. I kept wondering “is this what a life amounts to? tons of stuff that mean nothing to anyone?” It was sad. And sobering and before I moved I got rid of vast amounts of stuff which, when I really looked at it meant nothing, because the memories are in my head. Do I really need more crap to commemorate?

    Short answer: no. And it has been SO liberating.

  4. Jazz triggered a memory in me of emptying my grandparent’s large home after my grandmother died ten years ago. An overwhelming amount of stuff – including boxes of flashcubes! We finally brought in a company that does estate sales. So little of it was meaningful to us. I don’t want my kids and potential grandkids going through the same thing with my belongings.

  5. Your eloquent recall of those small moments demonstrates how much you live every moment.

  6. Jess says:

    Your writing hurts my heart. But in a good way.

  7. lime says:

    i have to admit i am a keeper of mementos though not a big spender. i want the memories that don’t necessarily require great expense but perhaps provide a small talisman.

    that said there is something beautiful about the mindfulness of mundane activity. you have brought to mind a very specific memory. i am godmother to a ghanaian friend’s first child. i was at her apartment to visit and help after she had the baby. her sister was visiting from her home in botswana and it was the first time i’d met the sister. and yet, there was acceptance. there is no “dressing up” the exhaustion that is new motherhood, especially after a difficult delivery. a small apartment becomes messy, and i as a young mother of 3 had no problem overlooking. the sister being in the same station of life as i also overlooked it as we worked together to help the new mom. we had just met and yet feel easily together in the job and the joy. at one point after some corners had been swept and mom and baby were helped and then had fallen asleep, the sister handed me her hair cream, bent her head and asked me to tend to her hair. it was such a plain and ordinary thing. so normal. just a daily grooming exercise and yet it was a striking moment to me to be asked to take care of her hair because she was so weary from caring for her sister and dealing with extreme jetlag. i have always held it as precious.

  8. Hi, Jocelyn! I’ve been making the rounds, leaving comments for all my old blog friends that are still active. Nice to see you’re still as prolific and profound as ever.

    The big take-away from this post for me is that we need to balance both the memorable moments with the unmemorable ones, and that we shouldn’t try to make every moment memorable. Now if only I could convince a certain relative of mine to get rid of things like my math worksheets from 2nd grade. 🙂

    Anyway, I’d like to get better at staying in touch, so hopefully you’ll be seeing me around more in the future.

  9. Friko says:

    Yes, amen to all that.

    One thing I know though (after all it’s Friko, could she ever leave well alone?), those unmindful moments, which make us one with each other, are lost in the great whoosh of life, they occur and reoccur endlessly, become mindless routine, therefore unmemorable. The unmindful moments you picked out are still of some importance, they caused you to ‘do’ something, ‘feel’ something, ‘react’ to something. I would respectfully suggest that those tiny endlessly repeated actions which are simply part of living, breathing, existing, disappear into oblivion.

    As I am about to click this comment into your comment box, it’s the finger on the click which does it. Finger and click themselves would ordinarily not enter my consciousness, they only do, right at this moment, because I am making them special, give them importance.

  10. Robin says:

    Lovely. Couldn’t agree more. As I advance through life and, perhaps recklessly, gain confidence just because I am still here and moving forward, I find that there is greater knowledge and connection to be found in the small ordinary moments, as you make the case for so well. It is the courage of sharing and throwing light on these moments — of showing that we are not all or just or only what our exteriors and deliberately shared experiences make us out to be — that is so powerful and uniting. Knowing that others have cried in the night until their eyelids were puffy is a powerful thing. That others have covered stains or eaten from the carton or farted in yoga class is Higgs Boson of humanity. It is the ever present yet rarely seen fiber of the universe that holds us all together.

  11. pam says:

    Brilliant. Clapping my hands in delight. Found myself saying yes at the end of each thought you’ve expressed, and I have expressed similar thoughts to others over the years.
    I tend (mainly due to lots of shifts) to be practical rather than sentimental, and throw stuff out that I no longer need withought a thought- husband likes to tell all and sundry he’s surprised he’s lasted so long and dives for cover when one of my ruthless purges is underway!)
    He’s actually quite understanding with my need to disperse of stuff, even that which could be classed as sentimental, as he’s seen my Dad’s hoarding capabilities!
    A lot of places our small family ( husband, self and daughter) have lived in over the years had storage challenges spacewise anyway – or we’ve had money challenges which have highlighted the need to celebrate the small and simple moments in life for what they are.
    With each move, after our daughter left home, we’ve down-sized as our needs become even less, and somehow dwelling with past sentiments distracts from the future.(My thoughts may be different from my husband and daughter here!)
    All this has ultimately lead me to feeling exactly the thoughts you’ve expressed.
    Enjoyed this post a lot!

  12. Meg says:

    I have been given the responsibility of sorting, scanning and divvying up the entire photographic archive of my parents’ 63.5 years together and what they each accrued prior to that time. It has been (and will continue to be, based on the sheer volume of the collection!) a task that brings me into moments that they thought to document; moments I may not have been present for or may not remember. Of each snapshot, portrait, slide, I have to ask – to whom might this be significant or important? At the same time, during this ugly political season, I have been pondering what it is that makes us Americans, so much alike in our quotidian routines and responsibilities, so very hateful to those with differing viewpoints. And so your post resonates with me, as always, on so many levels.

  13. chlost says:

    When we moved into this house we currently call home, it seemed huge, with storage space to spare. After 11 years, the estate of my grandparents, husband’s parents, aunt, office furnishings that are “good” and my mother’s things that did not fit in her assisted living apartment, we are bulging at the seams. Grandma’s dining table-anyone want it? The governor of the state ate there…..but it is in my garage now. It becomes a burden after a while rather than a symbol for cherished memories. And yet guilt is also laced in there somewhere with a feeling that some of these things might be “worth something” and we wouldn’t want to just throw that away, now would we? Our feelings of desperation to make our lives mean something, to be remembered beyond the generation that knows us-i think that is the real reason behind keeping the mementoes of our lives. Even after we are gone, this cheap little trinket or expensive piece of jewelry will still be here to prove we did something, saw something, or cared for someone. Unfortunately, the memory or the meaning does not attach to the item except in our mind, and it is gone with us no matter our intention; it is just a trinket after all.
    I’ll be making the local Goodwill very happy sometime very soon

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