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Sonoma County Gazette
To the Dump.
To the Dump.

A Story About 'Stuff'

Apr 5, 2019


Yesterday I was handed the statement that our home had to be emptied completely immediately. After having to sit on my hands for two days waiting on insurance I was then informed that our flooded garage and entire home and patio had to be removed. Now. Nownownownownow.

I had a beautiful crew help to get my home packed and out. Thank god for family.

We tried to keep it organized. Then we just threw it in. Stuff that had to sit in the shit mud, draperies that had barely gotten wet had traveling mold and had to be tossed, stuff that could have easily been saved was now garbage. Bags and bags and bags. After awhile I stopped seeing it as any thing more than something in my way that had to go.

My stuff had gone from treasure or necessity to an obstacle to be removed. Inconvenient. Stop looking at it, stop thinking, just get it out. I became numb to it. When someone asked a question it was work to think. My mind was on one task and had closed to any kind of processing.

Get it out.

One friend who had lost almost everything including the roof over his head told me he actually felt free. That losing the responsibility of his stuff had been a relief.

Our stuff IS a responsibility. A burden. I no longer own my stuff at this point, it owns me. A couple weeks ago I would look at my home with pride. Now it's just another war story on the River. Just one more tale in the 2019 Flood. I am a statistic.

My new space (I'm one of the lucky ones) is filled with chaos. The old one, echoes and mold. Trying to keep track of only the absolute vital items. My purse. Phone and charger. Water, chapstick. The pets. It changes your definition of what is important.

The rest is just stuff.

The roads of the River are lined with stuff. Responsibilities that were taken away. They become someone else burden. Your stuff becomes someone else's stuff that will nowstuff a dump.

For many years growing up, a little cartoon snipped from the funnies was taped to the fridge. Two men in front of a giant pile of garbage next to a shack that read "dump". One says to the other, "amazing ain't it, how possessions accumulate "?

How easy it is for our possessions, our stuff to become trash. When the choice is taken away from you and you have to let it go you realize it wasn't really important as you thought it was.

I learned detachment yesterday. That all that stuff was not mine. It was on loan for a time. Like a bic lighter, it travels one stop to the next. Just let it go. It's only stuff. Nature abhors a void. More stuff will take its place.

This experience I think will make me more thoughtful to what I bring in, what is important. I have my family and my friends. I know where the important things are.

Everything else is just stuff.


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