When the winnowing down fever is on me, it's easy to toss ugly, greasy-feeling plastic containers that have found their way into the pantry. Odd bits of lipstick, end pieces of eyebrow pencils, these I toss with a nearly puritanical relish. Recently, I turned against all the old perfume in my drawers and threw it away en masse. Some had spilled onto old toothbrushes, leaving them stinking and unsuitable even for scrubbing grout. I remember a time when the concept of "layering" a signature scent held some gospel essence for me. These days, I don't want to enter rooms full of people at all, but if I must, let me do it silently and without scent.
Certain objects feel like they have a story to tell, and I can't bring myself to throw them away. Strangely, they are mostly items created or acquired by people long dead, to whom I bear only a tenuous or non-existent connection.
There is a pile of crocheted fabric, most of which looks like bits and pieces of projects begun but not finished. Maybe that is why it is dear to my heart and I cannot seem to discard it. I have dragged it from pillar to post, from pine woods to mountains and back again. I gathered it up in my hands again this morning.
"Just throw it away. You don't even know where it came from. Nobody else wants it. Throw it away."
Instead, I select a few of the ones I like best, put wooden clothes pins on them because it makes me think of the renewing smell of sunshine-freshened clothes swinging on a clothesline, lay them on a glass-topped table, and take their pictures. When I look at them, I smell Pond's face cream and talcum powder. And I feel a tenderness in my spirit, very like a bruise.