I downsized 25 years of household before anyone heard of Marie Kondo’s “sparking joy”. I get her general drift, but I say, skip the spark, let’s light a bonfire.
At the present moment, my tiny house feels a bit cluttered. I have to undertake my annual switch-to-spring-clothes ritual soon. I’ll use the exercise to divest myself of a few superfluous belongings. I’ve accumulated some second-hand items to replace objects that I threw into the garage-sale-at-Miranda’s pile and later realized that I would need. Those acquisitions must find homes. To accommodate them, I’ll cull out anything which has proven less useful. A balance will assert itself.
None of these items particularly spark joy. They serve a purpose. The possessions which elicit a smile sit on shelves and adorn my walls. They stand behind the glass of my mother-in-law’s secretary. I do smile when I see them. A spark of joy? Not really — more like the warmth of a good home-made soup, the kind you remember long after the person who gave you the recipe has gone.
The bonfire burns inside me though. Distant voices on the other end of a phone line fan the flames. A bank agent refunds a fee that she didn’t have to give me. My co-worker rushes to assist when the copier jams. I call a neighbor, who unloads my car outside the community room. The coffee shop owner remembers which size mug I prefer.
Keep the pretty blouses if you like the way they look on you. Meanwhile, here on Andrus Island, the river flows past my window. A flock of birds rises beyond the path of the crop duster’s yellow wings. An endless sky holds it all together. When the sun sets, the bonfire blazes against the darkness of the night. I might find joy, or something close enough to call it good.
It’s the fifteenth day of the sixty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.