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Cleaning Up, Cleaning Out

Stuff. Everywhere. Inside the old concrete block walls, table after table in the old elementary school gym was stacked with stuff. Good stuff, stupid stuff, old stuff, new stuff, what-the-hell? stuff and five car loads of stuff I'd brought, too, were arrayed in a vast organized mess of stuff. By the day of the sale, all of the stuff I'd help arrange and price had gotten up my nose and given me a massive allergy headache.

The last of the stuff from the leftover remains of Henry's mother's house made up the five car loads I'd contributed, providing a decidedly gilt-encrusted theme to the stuff displayed. The Artifacts indoor yard sale, a yearly event to benefit our local Arts Council, had come in handy for me. I got to finish the clean up of the house we now live in by ourselves.

Henry's mother died last November, and you know you can't take stuff with you. After everyone in the family had finished choosing what they could use, after moving vans and stuffed vehicles departed, still there was stuff left over. I hauled the last of it off in those five car loads, leaving behind some empty and clean rooms, ready for whatever use we wanted.

Now I'm turning one of the spaces downstairs into a travel and gear storage place. There's big bookshelf where I've stacked guide books and maps. I went to the cabin and fetched my plastic drawer units with the bits and bobs that belong in pockets, backpacks, dry bags, and carry-ons. I've emptied the assorted cabinets and closets upstairs where the stuff of travel has been stashed haphazardly over the last three years. Dusty and ignored my trip stuff had been mocking me with its disuse.

Because travel gear is not merely stuff. Each little pull sack is a hope of adventures to come. That voltage converter is a place to go. That dry top is a river to paddle. The Platypus brings to mind things to see and my new hiking boots are a place to walk around and hike across.

Yesterday I took the old plastic shelf from the cabin basement and washed it off in the driveway. I reassembled it in the new travel room. I'll store the sleeping bags and tents on the bottom shelf. Later today I'm going to put a chair in there and sit and admire the adventure view. And, I'll drill a hole in one of the concrete blocks so I can hang a calendar.

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