Like an archaeologist I uncover layers of meaning. Unfortunately this is not some mysterious dig out in the desert, uncovering ancient artifacts. This is me, making my first tentative steps toward rediscovering my house. Today I decided to tackle part of a kitchen counter and was horrified to discover the well preserved memories of leftover decorating frosting from the sugar cookies we made at Christmas. Still in their tightly capped tubes they rested on a neatly folded paper towel in a dish. I am almost afraid to touch them, these colorful tubes of sugar, color, and preservatives. I do not wish to know if they are still soft and pliable or if they have petrified in their plastic cases, but I need to do something with them. I know that they belong in the trash bag I am holding in one hand, but there is a fear in letting go of something that is only half-used.
I take a deep breath and reach instead for my journal, setting aside the concerns of whether or not to throw the tubes of frosting in the trash. This is one of those moments I have been expecting - knowing that as I excavate the layers of physical clutter all around me I will be excavating ever deeper into my heart and uncovering clues to the truths that hide there. I married in September of last year and since then I have let the house accumulate layers of clutter as I try to define who I have become as I joined my life to my beloved. More has changed than simply my name and I have not embraced that change gracefully.
I do know that my surroundings echo my inner state of being, and it frightens me to look around at all of the unfinished projects and clutter that surrounds me. I find myself with long stretches of time now to deal with this accumulation of clues that I did not want to see the first time. I am re-learning myself one small piece at a time.
Today, in those four half-empty tubes of frosting from Christmas I rediscovered a part of my grandmother and the lessons I absorbed from her frugality and make-it-stretch mentality. But I am still going to throw away those tubes of frosting.
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