I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Monday, February 23, 2015

Catharsis

"The first section of the poem, The Inferno, was Dante’s account of their trip through Hell. Each circle of Hell contained assorted shades (ghosts) suffering increasingly harsh punishments. As the pair entered the 4th circle of Hell, they found two mobs at war, crashing against each other with enormous boulders they pushed with their chests. The armies formed a circle and as Plutus, the Greek God of Wealth watched, they collapsed upon each other crashing the stones against each other, only to retreat and taunt “Why do you hoard?” While the opposite mob replied, “Why do you waste?” Dante’s guide explained that these were the hoarders and wasters in life, the Avaricious and Prodigal. Their lives were spent acquiring possessions and chasing wealth, but by doing so they shielded themselves from God’s light. Now they were forever doomed to this fate. Their possessions became the heavy stones they heaved and crashed for eternity."
(http://hoarding.iocdf.org/dante_to_dsm-v.aspx)


Yes, well... "Why do we hoard?"  "Why do we waste?" Good questions.  I know this is a little heavy for Monday morning but it's something I've been thinking about and it brings me to the point of this blogpost. 
We cleaned out our garage two weeks ago and even though it's not completely finished, I feel really good about what we accomplished.

We chose a day, moved the car out and faced this monster with determination. This seems like an overwhelming project. 
We began by making piles.
One for the dump...
and one for the thrift shops...
...and a small pile for the undecideds. (This is a pile that needs to be kept to a minimum. It tends to grow fast.)

This cleaning and sorting is a lot of work, at our age... at any age, really... but it took all day and visions of Dante's Inferno kept hitting me in the back of the head. 
By late afternoon the garage was looking pretty good. The only casuality was a bird that had died (quickly I hope) in a rat trap. Why it chose to fly into the garage and eat cheese left for a rat, I have no idea. Our cat sleeps in here. The poor bird must have been desperate.
By the end of the day we we able to drive the car back into the garage without hitting its doors on "stuff". 

There is still a lot of work for us to do. Plastic boxes of "things" that I need to look through and sort. There's also the Prospector's side of this... "his side" of the garage. He is complicit as well. He has a workbench and storage area that is unusable at the moment. I'm not in this alone. 
I know that my schizophrenic artistic habit of hopping from one one kind of art to another (and all of my supplies that ensue)... and my  (I believe) unconscious "Don't throw anything away, I might want to use it someday" attitude, seems to be trapped in the recesses of my brain, having left me with a permanent inability to toss something away. I know, that without the looming thought of having to move someday, because of our health or old age, I would become lost in all of this. If I thought that this was our last destination, our final hurrah, I would probably not care so much. But I do. I also don't want all of this, piling up, waiting for my family to deal with.

I want to be like some folks who never collect anything. I truly do. I want to have a perfect, well organized life with closets that reveal what's in them at a glance. I want to find my shoes. I need that item that I put away, in a safe place, so I would know where everything was when I need it.  Yes, I have HOPE. I know that this is possible. I just don't know if I have time.
I have visions of  Dante standing there between the piles of stuff, smiling... waiting... with my "possessions" and they will have become the "heavy stones" that I will have to "heaved and crashed for eternity." 
That's scary shit. 
I need to keep working on this... fast.