Monday, June 1, 2009

Cluttered Perspectives (Moving, part three)


...earlier today was surprised at how sad I felt...having parked the moving truck, biked away to yoga class for a break from all that....then, hours later, everything moved but the grime exhausted scrubbing couldn’t seem to make disappear...looking at bare white walls of a place where I’ve lived for two years...no, wait a second...it’s later than that, now...keys are in the building manager’s drop box...need to change tense from present perfect to past: I lived there for two years...but don’t anymore....door’s locked and I no longer have any way of getting in...

...just one in a long series of places...none too spectacular...don’t think I could provide a street address for any of them...which is just as well....places are ephemeral...not good to get too attached to them...not even those given that most greatly revered title of home...

....though I lived in the same house for almost all of my childhood, and off and on during early adulthood...even if I didn’t feel very at home, then...and my mom still lives there....in fact, I’m visiting her as I write this, in my old bedroom...same stuff on the walls...some of it, at least, though it’s decaying fast...a greeting card drawing of a dog that looks like Mittens, our Welsh Corgi, when I was a kid...a yellowed newspaper review of the Who concert I saw in 1982...a postcard with a picture of Gumbi with what looks like a napkin wrapped around him and a caption reading: Mahatma Gumbhi Man of Peace...a program from the production of West Side Story in which I played a small part senior year...tonight, tonight won’t be just any night, tonight there will be no morning star...

...then, places are also perspectives...especially when those places are homes...the ceiling fan I saw and sometimes heard first thing in the morning...the trees and parking lot out the window...the particular distance to bathroom and kitchen...all gone...or soon to be someone else’s...

...the house where I grew up is surrounded by trees...and I can’t imagine what it’d be like to grow up somewhere that wasn't...

...when I was in high school, my family flew in to Mexico City, then drove to Puebla and Oaxaca through the mountains...twisty, narrow mountain roads with trucks that moved so slowly, my dad would have to pass them...a cliff on the other side, if he misjudged....most of the trip was truly beautiful, but what’ll always stick with me most was what we saw on the way out of Mexico City...my attention, I think, first drawn away from whatever I was reading or the music on my Sony Walkman by an incredible rancid odor...and I looked out the window to see a mountain of garbage, and people all over it, foraging for whatever they might find...and, around it, a seemingly endless sea of dingy, crumbling grey in which countless human beings lived....I’d thought I knew what the word slum meant before then but I was mistaken...and as we drove on, it continued, for mile after mile....I really can’t imagine what it’d be like to grow up there....

...lately, my perspective has simply tended to be filled with clutter...papers all over every surface and spilling onto the floor, and other crap lying around everywhere...crumpled things I didn’t feel like picking up all around the corner trash cans...dirty laundry in a pile by the bed....was really somewhat shocked to see the quantity of dust in every corner, along every wall, underneath every piece of furniture....

...and clutter, clearly, is a problem in my perspective...as is junk...and ugly residue that sticks and needs to be washed...and all the tiny motes, fragments of sloughed off skin that should’ve been allowed to blow away long ago...

...my new home is nothing but clutter at this point...and I’m really not sure where exactly I’m gonna put stuff...except for the small room in front, where I told Jason, the friend who kindly helped with the move, not to put anything, and where I lay down only my little moon and stars rug, a couple of small art objects, an incense holder, and a few selected books...an attempt at leaving one small part of my new place largely open and uncluttered...it’s a start...

14 comments:

Lydia said...

And a damned good start, at that! It's a great idea and bodes well for the way you'll grow into the new space.

Over two years ago I had a pro paint the LR/DR, master bedroom, and bath. They had been done like a bordello by the folks we bought the house from: forest green walls in LR/DR and bath, burgundy ceiling in bath, and the same burgundy was painted on the walls in the bedroom. It sucked. Life. Out of me. So I had to move furniture (except main pieces), wall decor and etceteras to the "junk room" (aka, future yoga room. Do you know what? It never moved back downstairs. I bid and won a large painting from an artist at eBay and that is the sum total of wall hangings. Yes, the junk room is hard to whittle at but I am doing that. And in the meantime the minimalist downstairs with classic-tone light walls and ceilings are perfect.

Bird said...

There's nothing like moving house to stir up the past and the future for that matter... glad you have a space that is kept free for "now".

patti said...

Clutter and dust are pretty much the same thing aren't they? Both show us how much inactivity has been going on!

The slum you speak of puts everything in perspective. If we live in a clean, well ventilated, safe place, how lucky must we be?

Welcome home!!

the walking man said...

I dread the day we move from this place of habitation for the past two decades...less of course I can con the kids into doing it all.

RB said...

Is there a difference between clutter and junk? Please cite examples from author's past works and include relevant criticism and commentary where appropriate.

svasti said...

How weird that your old bedroom is still mostly as it was when you lived there.

My old bedroom is now my parents' computer room - two desktop machines, printers, a fax, a couple of laptops and endless piles of software etc. Its also where mum stores all of her genealogy work in folders. Its organised chaos.

Your description of the slum reminds me of my visit to Cairo, when we made our way (against advice) to the City of the Dead - a community of incredibly poor people who live in a dis-used cemetary. They use the grave housings (kinda like a mini temple) for their living quarters. A happy but dirty life, and everyone we met was so friendly and welcoming.

I'm with you on the clutter - its more than six months after moving into my current abode and I'm still de-cluttering. Just last Sunday, took more stuff down to the goodwill shop.

Anyway, glad you had a friend to help you move. And that you've started with a nice little ceremony of your own making (empty front room) in your new home.

Here's hoping this new place brings with it other changes - the good kind - in other parts of your life.

berenice said...

hola Dr. Jay

welcome to your new home! you made it! love that you have your little room on the front with small rug and your 1st fine place to start...

have fun decorating and hiding mess, there's nothing like an empty house to have fun with

take your time and enjoy, you are already done with the worst part that is cleaning an old place

happy new starts :D

Eleanor said...

Dr Jay - how insightful and evocative your posts are nowadays. Moving house and moving on?

Peace my friend, as you settle in your new home.

Liara Covert said...

Moving is an opportunity to declutter physical space and also the mind. Each move offers new opportunities for re-orientation and grounding in new perspectives. Anyone who has ever moved has contemplated what to keep, what to discard and what to give away. This mirrors the psychological process of contemplation about releasing thoughts and feelings that no longer serve you. Dreams offer insight into this process. Found you through Beyond Words. Added you to the Dreambuilders Australia blogroll. Come visit!

earthtoholly said...

Hi drjay,

I still go by the homes I grew up in although it always makes me sad...one reason being that my family hasn't lived in them for years. I would love to go back to my old room, but know that that would also be sad. I think I sometimes just welcome the sad...how weird.

That "little moon and stars rug." One of your treasures? I love those odd belongings with which you can't part and end up carrying throughout life, and I sometimes wonder, what will become of them when I'm no longer in possession?

Geesh, bummer comment, huh?

Melinda said...

Hi Jay,

I grew up in the same house for most of my childhood (we moved to Bozeman when I was five and moved to a different house there when I was a junior in high school). I never missed my childhood home--after all, it was a place of quite a bit of pain for much of my childhood.

As a young adult, I moved constantly. At one point, I kept count--and added up like 15 places in 10 years (I stopped after that). I would move into a place, stop paying rent (due to my drug abuse), and then when I got kicked out, I would start the entire cycle again. None of those places were ever 'home' because I knew that I would be leaving as soon as they were able to evict me.

Because of moving so much, having a stable, structured environment is very important to me. After entering treatment with nothing more than a small duffle bag a little over fifteen years ago, I have learned to appreciate and cherish the memories that I have now.

I do think that change is good though--when I have moved into a new place, the world just seems ripe with possibilities--it's like a fresh start.

Best of luck with it--I think I have rambled on quite long enough now! :)

Melinda

Brooks Hall said...

I offer a ceremonious blessing for an uncluttered and freely-flowing experience in the new place.

Rhiannon said...

ah, yes I've just recently moved also..to an apartment...not a "house" like the ones I used to live in and move every two to three years from one to the other and so on. With this "moving" through the years being apparently my "lot in life" I continually "yearn" for "roots" and stabilitly and wonder if it will ever happen. I think that some people who move a lot through the years can or might appreciate "roots" and a "real home" more than some who have always had their "home, roots, and "stability". Yet moving so much throughout my life has stretched me into wider openess and so many encounters with all kinds of people and all walks of life. I know it has made me who I am in this "moment" and so that will change too.

Now, It's public (apartment) housing for me..due to my disability..it was empty upon moving in and was empty for a few weeks, as I slowly started finding "this and that" at the good will. However I had boxes of "stuff" I had had in storage..papers, "clutter" tons of albums and cd's and those "special" important things you never want to part with you know? I'm still going through all that "clutter", it's ridiculous isn't it?

Now it's time for me to sort through and decide what to toss out keep, take to goodwill..etc..etc..I want to make new memories not "go back"..and yet I still want to keep "parts of myself" that I always bring with me. My angel lamp, my angel figurine collection, books,my artwork, my tons of books of journals writing for the last 10 years, my writing of all my poems I have in a huge box, my art portfolio and the ones I have framed of mine to put up on the walls. But since I still am not sure which "spot" I'm moving the furniture to "permanently" yet I will keep my walls naked for the time being..it's errie those empty walls I don't think it will look like "my place" until I put all the special things of art and such up on the walls.

I have (like you) made my bedroom a place of "quiet" and basic peacefulness yet with the beauty of burgundy colors for that room. Not sure why but lately this color makes me feel very oh I don't know "special" kind of "richness" and depth hard to explain. Beautiful frilly burgundy curtains I tacked over the "tacky" mini blinds which I hate. That bedroom is the place I like to hang out the best, like your yoga room..no tv, no pc, just bed, pillows, music headphones, candles, and books of course. With my kitty bundled up with me on my "burgundy" or is it "maroon"? velevty throw on the bed.

Meanwhile when will the "clutter" of all this paperwork be taken care of? It seems endless doesn't it? It seems to follow us wherever we may go...I'd prefer to just take it all out and throw it all into a big bonfire..but a lot of that paperwork is important to my life..so I will eventually go through it and "sort" and "Toss' and "keep" some of it..oh how I hate papers, clutter and such but I sure have a lot.

Well, enough of the blubbering here.

Hey Jay, congrats on the new place and stay mellow in your "special youga room"...keep it that way..

Blessings upon your new abode,

Rh

Kikolani said...

Those are probably the worst two things about moving... that sort of sadness when you are taking your last look at a bare place where you have so many memories. And then going to your new place, where everything is in shambles.

The good way to look at it is while you are unpacking, you can clear out even more clutter and create a whole new environment with less clutter, depending on how much you can get rid of. That's what I did during my last move, both while packing to leave and while unpacking. It made a huge difference.

~ Kristi