There comes a time – at least, I assume it does – in most of our lives, when the specter of moving into a new and completely different phase of life confronts us. It comes up to consider the possibility of leaving the cherished home site or situation and moving into something more manageable, for instance.

There will come a time when we must move on and leave this treasured spot on the edge of the woods. In gentle preparation for that moment, we have begun culling out those obvious items that are purely meaningless and hauling it off to the dump. It’s actually a so-called “transfer station”, but nobody is keeping score. But the heavy lifting is yet to come and it could take longer than we imagine. It’s the kind of activity that we both dread to do and are anxious to do. I suppose that is the nature of transitions.

The thought of moving on curdles my blood and also heightens my sense of adventure and being alive. The reality is that there will come a time when we will not be able to take care of this place. It’s part of the natural rhythm of life. Oh, if one of us wins the big one, we will be able to just hire the work done and be as mobil as we want to be. I read those headlines about someone winning mega millions and think – it’s just a matter of time until my number comes up. Yes, I know. There are balms available that can calm such specious thinking.

There are hundreds of books, CDs and cassette tapes. Give them away, I hear you say. Take them to one of those places where they accept boxes of such stuff without a word. Don’t do a close inspection of every single book. Actually, I will hold onto Baugh’s Literary History of England. About two and three quarter inches on thin paper – it does not miss a point. I’ll keep the poetry – a few other volumes that remind me of the loftier aspects of the human experience. OK, I’ll probably hold onto some pulp as well, just to keep me honest. God, how I love a mystery.

Around this rambling house are nooks and crannies into which is stuffed every imaginable piece of useful, useless and unused “stuff”. There are kayaks, bicycles, snowshoes, badminton sets, bows and arrows, a chainsaw, a wood chipper, a table saw, all kinds of battery powered tools and there is a photographic darkroom – just to give you an idea. Actually, the darkroom equipment is not useful anymore except to a scant few holdouts. If you want it you can have it. This list is only a “symbol” of what is actually stored around this place.

So the task is laid out before us and, as I have said, we are beginning to hack away at it. It’s the mechanics of transition. It’s not easy work, but it should reveal something important about us. Something I am actually anxious to discover. I really think I already know what it is, and it is this: You can go farther with a lighter load.

There was a time, back in the searching 70s when meaning was attached to everything, that in the middle of a warm night I hauled the contents of a large storage space in my building to a huge dumpster. I needed to make a break and rid myself of stuff, the possession of which, I could no longer justify, and which simply did not hold meaning for my life anymore and needed to be jettisoned into the night sky. It was transition time. I needed to lighten my load.

There was as many as a dozen suits, kitchen ware that drug my memories back decades, dozens of sundry items that filled boxes upon boxes – like rocks and mementos collected from places once visited and which had no function except to remind me of things I did not want to be reminded of and so should be let go. It was one of my finest “grownup” moments.

This cleansing took most of the night. It occurred to me then as it does now that this kind of purging is best done beneath the covering of darkness. It is best not to have too bright a light shine upon every once prized artifact of a past life as it tumbles into the rubbish bin. I think that’s the key: begin at midnight and work until dawn.

When my storage room was finally emptied, I felt light of heart, energized and quite hungry. It was time for an early breakfast at the Pig Stand on I-10 where I celebrated with three of my most faithful friends: grits, sausage and egg.

I’m Jerry Henderson Be well and stay tuned.

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