Monday, August 31, 2009


Are you a collector of things? Do you dust them? I collect glass eggs, stones, seashells, books, flower vases, and way too much stuff. They abide in etageres in the living room. For a month I did not dust.
It took two days to thoroughly clean the things and oil the wood underneath them. When I finished, it was beautiful.
I look for lessons in the ordinary stuff of life. Both my husband and I are in a 12-step recovery program, and we've learned that our level of serenity is directly related to the actions we take, or procrastinate on, or altogether fail to take.
I marveled, when I was through dusting, at a couple of things: a) all the stuff I collect is worth very little monetarily but sentimentally worth a lot; and b) why did I procrastinate so long when the joy of the finished product was so satisfying?
Isn't it simpler to just do it? Every day I wait is one more day I could have enjoyed the fruits of my labors.
The ultimate in simplicity would be to stop collecting beautiful glass eggs and get rid of those I have, but I'm not ready for so extreme a step. Instead, I wrote a poem, with acronyms, about dusting:


Damned if it is a measure of your life’s worth that
U have more tchotchkes than books
Stultifying on your shelves, a grim reminder
That all things arise and return to it

Diminishing, finally, to a collection
Unified only by its ridiculous paucity of value
Someday your grandchildren will not be
Thrilled to inherit its archaeological zilch.

Chris Alba (c) 2009


Angel said...

I am definitely a collector of pretty things, but not so much a duster. You are right though. When you actually get to the task, it is usually very rewarding. I love your poem. Very clever!

Her Big Sad said...

I'm in the same boat.... I hate dusting, and have actually gotten rid of some things just to make the job easier.... but when its done, I love the luster of the wooden antiques, beauty of the uncovered sentimental pieces.