Burning Desire

Usually just the promise of a new year gets me geared up for o-souji. But lately I’ve felt overwhelmed by our accumulated clutter. Seeing the boy starting the new year with a clean slate helped me gain some perspective on how to tackle the mess back at my house. I’ve decided to pretend like I’m moving.

In the past, I’ve moved every few years which resulted in a purge of the things I accumulate by being naturally conservative. (This comes to me from my mother who stays true to the roots of her Depression childhood by saving every rubberband and piece of string that comes her way.) AJM squirrels away his own collection of aluminium cans, medicine bottles, and lidded glass containers. These are supposed to be for workshop projects, although he hasn’t done one in years.

The Japanese have special festivals where they take New Year decorations or old dolls to the shrine to burn. It’s a way of getting rid of something respectfully instead of just dumping it in the trash. I like committing certain objects to the flame–things that are too worn to pass on to Goodwill but have too much sentimental value to throw in the garbage.

My 1977 Spitfire ended its days by bursting into flames. I was very sorry to lose it, but consoled by the finality of the loss. I dreaded losing it bit by bit as it slowly fell apart over the years. I feel the same way as I feed the fire with old notebooks from technical writing conferences or newspaper clippings I never got around to clipping.

I might not be moving physically, but it’s time to move on mentally.