All of life is a journey really. We reach many destinations along the way and for some of us lucky ones these destinations are even geographical. But usually our travel is through days and weeks and rooms and relationships. Inside myself I am always keeping a mental tally of everything that would go into my two suitcases if something forced me to jump ship. Everything that is actually critical to my well being. There may come a time when we need to pack ourselves and our metaphorical or very real luggage and move fast. So in my life there are two sets of luggage – real things and real memories/knowledge. These luggage compartments are where we keep the most important stuff.
Autumn is when I look around and remind myself of what is important.
Zack and Whitney drove off about 5am. They lived here for a month and being students of the culinary arts they not only cooked marvellous breakfasts and dinners but also imparted a good deal of culinary knowledge that I have folded into my own luggage to keep. Their journey takes them home this week. How wonderful to still have family homes to return to.
Their car is packed with all they hold dear in life, except their dog who they will be collecting in a few days. Well packed luggage does not include everything you own. To pack well for our journey through life we need to be able to throw out the baggage that is too heavy or obsolete and whittle the load down to just what we can carry comfortably, what we need and what we must know. Storing knowledge so it is easily retrieved is a life long task. So my journals and cooking cards need to be brought up to date. The baggage in our minds is possibly more important than that suitcase full of favourite books and paintings, kitchen knives and my favourite mini rubber spatula. The best way to clean out the baggage in our minds is to write it down then either burn the writings or store them properly. This frees up a lot of space in our short term memory banks.
I have always thought autumn is a good time to have an emotional and physical spring clean. Once winter is here and it is too cold to be outside we don’t want to be locked into a small space with a whole lot of decaying mental garbage giving off its nasty noxious fumes or old stuff kept because we think we should or we paid a lot of money for it, or we might use it one day but never have. Pass it on or throw it out.
Best to clear the decks, wipe all the walls and ceilings clean, get the windows sparkling, heave the detritus overboard and start the next leg of our life’s journey with a lightened soul and plenty of space to breathe. This job of lightening or re-organising the cargo we carry is never ending, I need to do it at least once a year. Room by room. Or I begin to panic at the sheer volume of things or thoughts I am carrying around.
Nick flies back to New York on Friday. The summers work is coming to a close and my summer people will all soon be gone. There is a young Belgian film-maker coming for the second week of October and by then I expect to have the house cleaning done, the barns and their inhabitants tidied and ready for winter lodging and the rigging and emergency stores of my life’s metaphorical life-boat, pulled out, inspected, cleaned, discarded, re-placed or re-stowed. (Though it is easier to clear out material goods than clear out emotional garbage but it must be done.)
Autumn is the perfect time for such refection and attention.
Busy days ahead. I hope you have a lovely day.