I surround myself with pictures. They crowd my walls in cheap frames and overflow from shelves onto the cracked concrete of the basement floor. They spill from cabinets and drawers and some even sit on the yellowed pages of the cumbersome albums we used to collect in the analog years.
The thought of parting with all these memories frightens me. Should I shred the lot? Should I sort through them and find the photos of people who have long since died? Will my son want to bear the burden of the boxes of envelopes crammed with Polaroids and Kodacolor prints with curled edges?
A sheaf of photographs topples into my arms when I scrounge on the highest shelf of the cedar closet. I collapse into the nearest chair and hold the mess, lifting the pictures to the window’s light. Here is my son in kindergarten surrounded by the same trio of boys who spent every weekend together. Here are the mountains where I felt so isolated, the staggering beauty lost on me as I wept each morning. Here are the faded testimonies to love, and life, and laughter; to loss and longing.
I’m overwhelmed by mounds and mounds of memories. I’m not complaining — or maybe just a little. Duty draws me away from these reveries. I push the pictures aside, and head for the hills. Another day, I tell myself. Another day, I’ll decide what to do with all of this.
It’s the nineteenth day of the fortieth month of My Year Without [Too Much? Maybe Just A Little?] Complaining. Life continues.