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Unburdening: the move

July 13, 2009

I’m moving from a big house shared with more people to a small semi-studio with some amenities shared with fewer. Sitting here in my soon-to-be-former bedroom, which is bigger in itself than some of Jay Sennett’s Tumbleweed Houses, I can already see how much I’ll have to get rid of: my found vintage “desk” which is really a beat up old craft table, both my dressers (there are some already in residence in my new place, of inferior quality, but they’ll serve), the nice wood coffee table and night stand I bought off a friendly couple, many of my books, my metal filing cabinet, and my bed frame. The bed frame is one thing I’m glad to see the back of; it’s a long story, but it’s matched up with slats that are slightly too narrow, and they fall out, and for one reason or another I’d rather keep the slats and the mattress than the bed frame. I had a futon mattress as well I didn’t quite feel ready to get rid of, as it’s very comfortable and I like to have something for the occasional guest. But I’ve only used it on the floor, I never had a frame. So when I discovered that there was a full size futon frame under the queen size mattress already in my new place, I started to think about how I could juggle all the parts around so that they would match up.

For one reason or another, I decided to get rid of my bed frame, but keep the slats and the mattress, and put the full size futon mattress I have on the full size futon frame in the new living room, shove the old queen-size mattress into the shed if it will fit, and put my mattress on a new bed base—resorting to the fallback of 2x4s and cinderblocks. It’s a long story, but it had us, meaning myself and three friends, shuffling a reluctant futon mattress and a similarly reluctant futon frame in what suddenly became serious summer heat today.

But the point is that possessions are a hassle. I am really attached to my mattress, which is very good for my cantankerous back. It’s an expensive possession I’m glad to own. But that means I have to deal with certain limitations—I am reluctant to just abandon it when my living situation changes. I have to set up a bed frame that is to my mattress’s taste, even if it’s not to mine. I need to live someplace that has space for a full size bed. I’m lucky that it’s the only large thing I own that I’m particularly attached to. But I suspect as I move from one situation to another in the next few years that I’ll start acquiring more things I’m attached to—kitchen stuff, mostly, I bet. And I have some seedling tea plants I planted into pots, trusting that sometime in the next three years I’ll find myself in a permanent enough home that I can put them in the ground…or at least into bigger, and thus harder to move, pots.

And I’m really drawn to, as Cat Chapin-Bishop put it, find some woods to belong to sometime in the next few years. I want to find a place where I can grow to know my woods, the way I didn’t really get to know the woods I belonged to as a child (more of an overgrown drainage ditch really, and my mother was probably right to keep me from exploring them on my own).

I don’t know how I’ll do that when I’ve chosen to build skills that are in demand mostly in cities…maybe I need to build some new skills, and that’s part of my adventure right now. Build skills, unload stuff, shed unsustainable habits, and then find some place to hunker down in and grow to be part of the land. The first three are necessary steps, it seems, for the last.

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