It’s just over a week ago that I held my new book in my hands, head in the clouds, my heart filled with joy. This week, however, I have arrived back down to earth with a thud. Instead of holding fresh hopes and possibilities, I have spent my days clutching heavy boxes filled with the trappings of my life – some awfully heavy.
For the past seven months all of my worldly possessions have been packed tight in a giant shipping container parked in the middle of a dry, barren paddock. It’s a ridiculous sight and about as far away as you can get from the classic beauty of the Parisian streets I write about. You gotta laugh!
Sweat dripping, I think of Napoleon Bonaparte’s words ‘It is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.’
With a string of 40 degree days it’s like an oven inside the container as we dismantle the tight jigsaw of belongings. The jigsaw of my life. Guzzling water on this hot summer day, my mind flickers to those relaxing at the tennis, the cricket, the Tour Down Under, or an Australia Day barbie with a cold glass of wine.
How much does one really need, I ask myself as I decide what to take to my new home and what to leave behind. In truth, I haven’t missed any of these worldly possessions that have been stored away – or so I tell myself as I fight with furniture and boxes. I have been lighter and free-er without them.
Outside, the sky is a vivid blue and a flock of squawking cockatoos have decorated one of the red-gums like ornaments on a Christmas tree. A classic Australian scene with its own brand of beauty.
As I pull pieces from the container, I ponder whether we shouldn’t be content to admire and enjoy the beauty that exists all around us without having to own it. I have never lived for ‘stuff and things’, they have not defined my life, and yet I do love and appreciate beautiful things. We battle on and I come across mementos of times and places…the Turkish tea set from a trip to Istanbul, the old, battered meat-safe from the farm, the gilded vintage frames from the Vanves flea market. It’s the memories that are triggered from these objects rather than their monetary value that give them their true meaning and make them keepsakes to treasure.
Hmmm…So what goes then and what stays?
I think it’s time for that cold glass of wine.
Happy Australia Day!
(Next week may well be sublime)