August, 2004
safe keeping, passing on, and recycling

No doubt about it, many objects really do get thrown out. There just isn't room for everything, and, if the truth be told, no real reason to hold on to everything. For those capable of it, there's something liberating in being able to carry a box of no-longer needed objects to the trash and to know that you've broken off your relationship to them. For two years now I've been investigating, from various perspectives (some repetitive, others rather singular) my own relationship toward the objects that accumulate in my life. The second year of this investigation draws to a close with short reflections on three different alternatives to throwing things away - alternatives which I personally experienced over the past month.

Recently some friends moved away for what will probably be two years. I don't know whether it's an accepted tradition in various cultures, but in our family in situations such as this we often took part in the ritual of "safe keeping" - taking something from those moving away which we promised to hold on to until they returned. Even though the objects which I was offered were of no real use to me (and I certainly have no room for them) I was happy to hold on to them.

There's nothing surprising in the fact that children outgrow toys. What perhaps is surprising is that we seem to be unable to predict what they'll be willing to part with and pass on to younger children, and what they'll want to cling to - beyond any logical explanation. This month Hila offered us a shining example of this.

There are objects which we hold onto well beyond any logical explanation, and then, often by pure luck, find a more fitting means of parting with them than the trash. I was lucky to have such an opportunity this month.

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