Decision Tree

At the moment I am reading a book called The Sweetness of Water and I came across this paragraph:

I hate to think what my tree would look like. Not a blossom tree, far too pink and admirable, a bonsai? Never reaching any potential, a rotten and dying tree? I’m being a bit more positive than that. Definitely windblown. I’d like to be a Manuka, producing a bit of honey but quite prickly, can blossom occasionally, but also suffers from the dreaded blight… plenty of limp branches, a dash of rot, gnarled roots etc. but still growing albeit not exactly strong and healthy. In the end aren’t we all just muddling along the best we can? Your tree? Let me know.

I am possibly a bit odd but I was out shopping alone the other day and stopped for a bite of lunch as I am wont to do. I was sitting up at a bar because tables are almost always only for two or more and I was staring into a blank brick wall. I kept seeing things in the bricks.

I keep seeing funny little things that have a story, like this one. Were there tears when it dropped from the bridge to the mangroves? Did they throw it over just to see what would happen? Perhaps they didn’t want their little brother to have it?

This week I have taken up a much bigger task and decided to sort my photographs, but it’s really hard to go back 60 years and decide what stays and what goes. What images would Sam possibly want from that time, after all he doesn’t know my old school friends or first loves. Possibly he’d want none of them and yet it is really hard to throw them out. It also reminds one of the tree and all its rotting branches, moments of blight and small bits of blossoming. So far, I feel I have done quite well as I purchased a couple of photo suitcases and started either taking them out of albums or if they were really stuck, as some were, making a photo book of them.

All empty and ready for the tip or to give away.

I’ve made some progress but there is a lot more to do as I made albums of my son’s life each year for around 11 years, then everything became digital and I never really look at those later digital ones. I’m hoping he will come over and help me go through them as there are a lot. I have written before about the Swedish technique of “death cleaning” and would like to leave a reasonably small footprint for Sam to have to organise. He helped to clear out the store cupboard downstairs during Covid but it has magically filled up again. Dammit.

As I am the youngest of 6 kids there are very few pictures of me as a baby, in fact this one is the only one I could find and I guess I am about 4- 5 years old. As did most mothers, mine made all our clothes and probably knitted the jersey too. It must be hard for our children to imagine their mothers as young saplings. I’m still not sure why we make little kids sit on an old man’s knee but there we are. I don’t look too troubled by it.

Part of my difficulty with decluttering is that I fall in love with things. There is a very cool little Japanese shop in Britomart called Wonder Journal and recently I fell for a beautiful Miro-like mobile made out of paper that I think would look excellent over the dining room table….they have a small exhibition by Kayo Miyashita.

This is an older exhibition picture but it gives you an idea of the delicate mobiles she makes.

I restrained myself and did not make the purchase as I know that sooner or later I intend to downsize to something small and simple. I fantasise about minimalism but know that I am far too messy to achieve it. These are what I imagine I could live like.

However, this is what I really live like.

Library books in ugly bags, knitting bag, curtains pulled badly, coffee cup from four hours ago, plugs on the floor. It’s never going to happen.

Still, who could resist or resent a pretty paper napkin from the perfume museum in Grasse or a place setting from the Picasso museum. I hope to finish the paper napkins before I shuffle off the mortal coil but if not, Sam you can throw them out.

Hope you had a quiet day reflecting on the monarch and if not I hope you spotted a monarch butterfly. It’s all in the detail. FG

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