Stuff and non-stuff

A gifted bowl. Milkweed pods sprayed gold by my sister.

Even as the tableaux produces a pang about Noreen (she was rapidly declining this time last year), the simplicity pleases.

A worn wooden floor. An exalted weed. A textured bowl crafted by a friend, lively in its imperfection.

Our relationship to things changes over time, doesn’t it?

I’m always ready to take the decorations down before husband and somehow feel a little bad about that. What does my eagerness signal?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the sweet nutcrackers, the festive wreaths, and the sentimental decorations given to the boys year in and year out. They represent a life lived and lived with some modicum of joy.

They signal the advent of time-outside-of-time.

In other years, the enjoyment of displaying decorations and the pleasure at putting them away ran about 50/50. This year, there was no contest. I felt a visceral relief clearing the spaces. I can almost imagine not bothering with any of it at some point.

I’ll leave you with this shot from Finn’s and my morning walk and a stanza from a poem by Wallace Stevens:

I do not know which to prefer, / The beauty of inflections / Or the beauty of innuendoes, / The blackbird whistling / Or just after.

From Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.

13 thoughts on “Stuff and non-stuff

    1. deemallon

      Well and if it does, Mo, it will be in no small part because of your powerfully loving and generous spirit.

  1. Joanne

    Happy 20 20 to you Dee. I am still enjoying the tree. Not taking it down until the 6th. Parting will be such sweet sorrow.

  2. nancy

    Ah Dee, Happy New Year to you all…and I’m with you, it got to the point where I couldn’t wait to pack the holiday stuff back up. For me it was part clutter (actual and visual) clearing and just ready to get on with the New Year, which always holds promise, even if we know better. Now I do none of that as my home has changed so greatly…just J. and I, no children and it is not our holiday. I’ve thoughtfully given away or just ditched all of my ornaments (except one) and even J. nameless stocking went to my great niece. i do rather like it this way for now. I will watch as you and your years change. Love to you. xo

    1. deemallon

      This has been a year of great shedding and transformation for you. As challenging as it was, a part of me
      Looked on with envy.

  3. ravenandsparrow

    I, too, feel the weight of stuff more every year. Getting it out, setting it up, keeping it tidy and then putting it all away. The enjoyment is leaking out of the whole proposition, which makes me sad. I remember so clearly the excitement and anticipation of Christmas when I was a child, and the pleasure of making Christmas for my boys. I seem to be running out of steam.

    1. deemallon

      I would’ve thought that maybe the addition of a grandchild would renew some of the pleasure? We simply have too much stuff. In almost every department but most certainly in the Christmas department.

  4. Liz A

    how many holiday things remind us of those no longer here … so freighted with memory … haunted even, but also prompting stories and laughter … and best, sometimes, insight … only to be put away, out of sight, the better to move on into the new year and light

    1. deemallon

      And I will disagree with an earlier comment of yours about “knowing better.” The sense of beginning is not all illusion. Or at least I hope it’s not. Here we are. Looking out at such disarray (I speak now of our world and not our things), with a sense of moving forward. I hope we all have the strength to meet the challenges coming this year. They will be big ones.

  5. imperfect dabbler

    Tiny living brought me Christmas in a single tote but filled with the favorites of treasures, pieces with a story. While often just two of us now my holidays are the clippings of some pine, a few lights and holiday treats. But honestly turning over the calendar always brings excitement of the mystery to come. An opportunity to try new things. I become more alive. Even with a monumental year coming in our political landscape, it’s unsettling and I’m grasping for hope! Perhaps we should begin making hearts! 💖💜♥️

    1. deemallon

      Grasping for hope is one of the most
      powerful acts we can make, especially
      In the collective. We must do better. Must

      Fear is rational but does not get us out of our chairs. So hearts? And where
      To send them? Any ideas?


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