I live in a community where I’m not responsible for mowing, lawn care, and most of the landscaping. However, I am responsible for my back yard. I had it landscaped a few years ago with shrubs, birdbath, flowering plants — and I love it. Though it doesn’t require much, I tidy the back yard occasionally to remove the weeds.
A few weeks ago, the mowers erred on the side of caution, leaving a stand of plants at the yard’s corner. They are weeds, not serious plants.The first week they were six inches tall. I intended remove them up but never got outside to do the dastardly deed.
The next week tiny white flowers topped the stems. A full schedule prevented me from destroying them.
Now, at week four, the plants are two feet tall and loaded with feathery white flowers. I have no heart to pull them up. I enjoy them every day from my desk window.
I know the mowers will continue to mow around them.
Which, of course, brings me to a ponderable question:
Why do we save what we do?
In the case of the flowers,
- they’re doing no harm
- they’re not taking up needed space
- I have more important things to do than pulling weeds
- I’ve grown to like them
- the mowers decided they were worth saving
- they’ll eventually die on their own
But what about those other things we’ve been holding onto for years, or even lifetimes — photos, clothing, memorabilia, souvenirs, books, toys . . .
I’m not suggesting that we all need to “clean house” and get rid stuff, like the flowering weeds — things we really don’t need to hold onto. However, I’m suggesting that we look at the burden we carry regarding our full closets, attics, and garages. Those things about which we say:
- some day I’m going to . . .
- I wonder if some other family member would like this . . .
- I should . . .I ought to . . .
- I was entrusted to keep it
- it’s a connection to my ancestors
- it holds fold memories
I’m mostly concerned about the pressure we feel to do something with our weeds, even though I enjoy them in my garden. However, I can’t say the same for the boxes of family photos and archives stacked in my garage, that have moved with me to three different houses. They’ve been waiting for years for me to organize their contents and make the information accessible to my family. They won’t eventually die like the weeds. And the contents won’t mean nearly as much to my children as they do to me. If I discarded the boxes, unexamined, no one would know they ever existed.
Every time I have a birthday, I’ve got fewer “some days” than before. A sense of urgency nags at my life edges. What can be more important than sharing the family archives and treasures with children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Once I dig in, it’ll be like tending the flowers in my garden, giving them room to thrive, and removing the weeds that stunt their growth.
Until next Tuesday . . .