Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, May 5, 2008


"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone."
-Joni Mitchell

With time on my hands last evening I pulled a cardboard box from its corner and began to rummage through it.
The box holds our personal memento papers: cards, letters, photographs both loose and framed behind glass, scribbled notes and some newspaper clippings.
For twenty minutes I plunged through the box with enthusiasm. Every few months I try to reassess the contents and it usually happens that at least some papers can be discarded.
I found a good number of printed essays from community college days in California: those would stay, as would my notes from a very successful math class I took in Texas.
But those are not what I want to muse about now.
I instead want to state unequivocally that I am thankful, more so than I was before I began to dig in the box.
As I excavated items and every few minutes sorted them into various tidy piles, I gradually moved toward the bottom of the container.
At the last moment, as I stuck my wrist and hand in to scrape the last few things away and as I shook the box a bit, a dreadful noise made me pause. I lifted, ever so slowly, the remaining papers and revealed what was hiding underneath.
One of the glass frames had splintered and the upright shards were like teeth, cruel and crafty. I very nearly, with an inch to spare, did not see them at all.
The number of fragmented pieces, the speed at which I had happily been examining the box and the force with which I had been grabbing things and flinging them onto the carpet meant that I surely would have been injured and I doubt that it would have been superficial.
Spouse is not here and so the whole thing left me feeling both thankful and rather shaken. It might have been so very different.

I ask though, how much consideration did I give to my health and my hands before yesterday? It is the same, I suppose, with headaches: when I have one, I am miserable, but during the days that my head is clear, I never once consider how wonderful it is to not have any pain.


Pappy said...

Great thoughts The. Thanks for coming by earlier and leaving a salient comment. Glad you didn't have to bring out the First Aid Kit. Be careful.

Anonymous said...

This books sounds like a treasure chest of ideas for article writing. I hope as you looked at each item you got some memories to tweak you. I've been looking through my book of mememtos lately after reading an article in The Writer.

I just posted on emotion in writing based on the article's ideas. Hope you'll check it out.


Anonymous said...

It's always the "might have beens" that leave me shaken up as well. Glad nothing happened and that you enjoyed your trip down memory lane.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Texican, my mother read your serial story and her words were "mighty; right up my street." Thought I'd share that.
Thanks for the word of caution- I definitely will be more careful in future.

Steve- I'll head over to your blog and check out your recent posts. You're right- a box like that can inspire so many thoughts. I think that's partly why I did it but I couldn't have imagined what I'd end up writing about it!

Natasha, Thanks so much for commenting. I've been very glad today about all sorts of things and appreciating my well being.

dennis said...

Dennis thinks ...whew that was close!

dennis said...

Dennis forgot to suggest collage.

Jaime said...

Thank you for this...I am that much more grateful that my day today was good, just the way it was...nothing special happened, but nothing bad happened either. It's when we go through the really rough stuff that we wish so much for days like I had today.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Dennis- yes, too close. I was lucky. Thanks for visiting.

Jaime- Normally I only learn to be appreciative after something bad has happened!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

okay this is too synchronistic (is this a word?)- I posted 'big yellow taxi' (Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got till it's gone) as my 'theme song' yesterday morning!

so so true.... broken glass is potentially very dangerous and scary. glad no great harm was done!

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

That happened to us some weeks ago too, with that song "Our House," which is rather obscure but I sang it in the car and came home to find you'd written about it. How funny.
I've left the box to sit there until Spouse returns and rescues me. It's eyeing me now, it wants me to go through the contents but I won't. Never! Thanks, Kimy.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Yes, we casually look past what is ordinary util it almost is taken from us.
Some times I appreciate those close calls, as a reminder.
Nina at Nature Remains

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Nina, 'tis a pleasure to have you visit here.
Funny how we can make an issue out of something that didn't even happen but the alternative was horrible! So I was very glad to be safe and sound.
As you said, ordinary things, they don't make much impact in our life- we think.

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I welcome comments and thoughts.