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  • I looked around the house the other day with new eyes. The clunky, slightly off-square wooden wine rack stuck in a corner. The unglazed pot with hulking lizards worked on the rim shoved against the door to keep it from blowing shut. The dust grimed wire and bead lamp beside the kettle on the counter. The wide pottery bowl on the wall with a twisted and twined mass of snakes writhing under the glaze. All acquired not because they fit a space nor because they evoked a time or place, nor because they sang. But added on. Accumulated. I realized that so much around me has an explanation instead of a purpose.

    Shelf by shelf, drawer by drawer, I began setting aside, clearing out, lightening the load and making room for what will come. Like a weather front approaching, a move is coming and I am going through the stuff of my life, letting go and creating room for new stories to emerge.

    Last night it was the counter space where the kettle sits and coffee is made. Now it is stripped to the essentials, spare, open, clear and clean.

    The day before I focused on a bookcase by the sitting room door. Two shelves tumble full of flotsam from trips and journeys; a watercolour cityscape from Istanbul, a post card from ultra-modern Dubai, rocks and coral fans, shells and random bits of craft all picked up and deposited over the years. Among the jumble I found a redwood cone Carly gave me for Christmas several years ago.

    I got out my new art box, picked up the chunky graphite stick and began to draw.

    I drew and remembered.

    Remembered wandering through the dim green splendour of a redwood forest peering through curtains of ferns at the soaring grey trunks and feeling small and magically transported.

    Remembered Carly’s face when she gave me the cone. Part pride, part worry that it was so small, part wonder if I would understand.

    Remembered her marvelling that such a small package could carry such great hopes.

    Remembered when I was a kid and was sent upstairs to clean my room. I went through closets, drawers and shelves until everything was in a massive heap in the centre of the room. Lost among all the bits of my life that had migrated to dark corners and bottom drawers, time slipped away. When my mother called up the stairs I put the rediscovered pieces out in places of honour and hastily stuffed the rest back in some kind of order in drawers and shelves..

    So much changes, so much remains the same.

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