The little hybrid maple tree in our front yard has shed most of its leaves, and after each new session of raking I swear I’ve heard it giggle as it drops another spray of red and yellow and brown to cover the moss again. This year I’ve started collecting the fluffy leaves in a big mulch barrel to mix with the long needles from the whatever-it-is gnarly pine tree way down front. I used to get peeved at what I regarded as littering. Now that I’ve realized it’s a gift, I love watching the fluttering release.
On another note, we emptied our survival supplies from the old tour van so Conrad could pack it wall to wall with dead palm fronds for a dump run. Palm fronds do not flutter down gracefully. One that was clearly about to let go had second thoughts, and as the load was nearly complete I had to grab its tip and run around swinging from it like Tarzan to make it let go. While we were at it, we said goodbye to various ancient computer parts, dead hard disks, an old VCR, and a very heavy backup battery unit that had an irritatingly short life. Packing it in was not fun, but once the heavy tech was in its e-waste bin, we teamed up and threw palm fronds like baroque javelins onto the messy concrete floor of the processing shed, watching nervously as the roaring yellow dinosaurs shoved and crunched stuff from adjacent areas. It was a jubilant release. Then we treated ourselves to ice cream from Mimi’s.
Earlier in the week we tackled the baroque mess of our walk-in wardrobe room, the “his” pole and the “hers” pole of hanging items from what looked suspiciously like the 70’s. I mean, a sport jacket’s a sport jacket, and almost all of our clothes have come from thrift stores, but there are limits. I can’t bear to throw a usable garment in the garbage, and now that the resale places are accepting donations again, it was time for a purge. The carefully folded and stacked stuff filled a huge yard-waste black bag, and it felt immensely satisfying to heft it onto the loading dock.
I’ve found strange artifacts in our old archaeological cartons of papers, and given that the rest of the memoir is likely to take at least a year I’ve taken to scanning a lot of the stuff I’m likely to keep coming back to and then ditching the paper. We’re old enough to sense that we’d better haul ass in getting rid of stuff. I almost do a funny dance when opening old three-ring binders and flopping the contents into the recycle bin.
All this delight in release has made me recognize another thread, the release of old shopworn guilt and shame clinging to past blunders. As I’ve been writing, I’ve been forgiving, and it feels good. I look at that little maple tree and wonder if it’s having a good time.