Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The weight of an object

This week, besides being insanely busy, has also been one in which objects and the associated emotional and historical weight of them has been at the forefront of my mind.  The meaning of things keeps cropping up in conversation, in books, on the internet, and in dreams.  I'm one of those people who can touch and object and feel an energy inside that I adore or fear.  I am, by training and nature, aware of the meanings and stories behind objects; at the same time, I am also trying to free myself from the trap of materialism as a road to happiness.

Last Thursday or Friday, Heather and I were discussing options for selling her parent's Southwestern art collection. The objects are expressions of not only identity, but for us, these pieces of art have served as silent watchers from huge chunks of our lives.  Selling this collection is not done lightly, and we were brainstorming how to best pass the collection to another owner. Saturday, I was reading about heirlooms.  Monday, Heather and I were discussing the meanings we attach to her mother's jewelry.  I can see, in my mind, her mother in a pink tee shirt, with her silver spiky hair, fidgeting with silver cuff bracelets with long finger nails painted hot pink as she talked with her Texas accent and loud voice.  It was an everyday sight for me for many years of my life, and it's both incredibly sad and incredibly comforting to remember Kris as she was, not as she is.  It shouldn't have surprised me when my mom called Tuesday to say she was working on writing her will.  She asked me to think about what I wanted of hers after she's gone.  Thinking about it, there are objects that, while they would never replace my mother, do evoke her in my mind.  Pieces of art, jewelry that meant something to her, figurines that reflect both her taste, but also the environment in which she exists all spring to mind.

Sometimes objects are completely meaningless to us.  They are void of any emotional or magical substance because they are so mundane and overlooked that we would never think about them in any capacity but the utilitarian   Other objects have a weight attached to them that cannot be measured by any scale except in our hearts.  I worry that I am too attached to some of my objects, that I assign them value to avoid dealing with other emotions.  These objects are moments frozen in time that cheerfully ignore everything that came after. Other objects give mute testimony to how much life has changed since they came into my life.  There are a few things, however, that seem to have a life of their own, and those, I fear to part with.  They are symbols of living energies, of events still in play.

Sometimes, a thing is just, a thing; at other times, objects are more than what they seem.  An object can tie us to the past or it can be a path to future.  They can be reminders, sign posts, and vessels for energies, bad and good, that influence our world.  There is no universal measure of value for things.  A diamond is just a rock to one person, while to another, it is the ultimate prize.  A cracked piece of crystal may be the last tangible remnant of a beautiful night, or it can be a damaged item in need or replacement.  It's all relative to who we are, what we are, and how we value the world.

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