|Random finds during packing. Above, business card from a family trip. |
Below, health votive from Greece.
|Small 1920 notebook with maps, 26th Street Flea Market|
|matchbooks, 26th Street Flea Market|
The passion for accumulation is upon us. We make “collections,” we fill our rooms, our walls, our tables, our desks, with things, things, things.A friend noted:
Many people never pass out of this phase. They never see a flower without wanting to pick it and put it in a vase, they never enjoy a book without wanting to own it, nor a picture without wanting to hang it on their walls. ... Their houses are filled with an undigested mass of things, like the terminal moraine where a glacier dumps at length everything it has picked up during its progress through the lands.
But to some of us a day comes when we begin to grow weary of things. We realize that we do not possess them; they possess us. Our books are a burden to us, our pictures have destroyed every restful wall-space, our china is a care, our photographs drive us mad ...We feel stifled with the sense of things, and our problem becomes, not how much we can accumulate, but how much we can do without. ... Such things as we cannot give away, and have not the courage to destroy, we stack in the garret, where they lie huddled in dim and dusty heaps, removed from our sight, to be sure, yet still faintly importunate...
—The Tyranny of Things, Elisabeth Morris (1917)
Things. Recognized as once beloved. Now mostly just reminders of the excitement of their own discovery. Usually many layered time travel... to the time I found it, and further back, to the era the thing came from as well. So a perfect card of "Victory Hair Pins" takes me to both 1940 and 1987.Recalling two eras was a wonderful observation.
I still feel delighted by the specialness of the objects I have, but that delight is yoked to a sort of leaden duration of time in my possession. I feel I've "spent" the excitement of the piece by having it around so long. It needs to be discovered again. I have been putting things out in front of my house to be taken (in true Park Slope fashion) and have sold a couple things online. In a sense, by giving objects away or selling them I am reenergizing them— giving these finds a chance to delight anew.