Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Thursday, January 15, 2004

During my Solstice ceremony, the theme moved on to dark places. My one was my old room over at Mum's- it's full of old nik naks of what seems like someone else's life, and lots of stupid little things with emotional resonance. Scraps of paper I scribbled on when revising for my GCSE mocks, the old wardrobe which Dad marked our heights on for 20+ years. I haven't been there for a while, and it's been pretty much sitting gathering dust and absorbing darkness since I left it.

At the time I said this was the dark place I wanted to go and visit, and blow away those ole cobwebs. Take what I wanted, and clear out the rest, so that it can be used for something else. It turns out Mum has had the same idea, and through Brother's reports on his visits, as we speak it's being broken into very small bits.

There's a school of thought, which I've so far managed to cling to, which says that all the objects in that room, if I haven't used or thought about them for years, are useless and I wouldn't even notice if they all disappeared. I've been keeping my distance, because I want that room to cease to exist, but I can't really bear to watch it all. So I've been staying away and letting it happen.

The thing is, the objects in that room aren't useless. I think in some ways I liked it being almost a museum. Bruce Chatwin told a story about a man who travelled the world, never staying one place more than a few weeks, and for the whole of his life refused to put down what we'd call roots. But he had a box, with just a couple of items in it that he kept in a safe deposit box in London, and had to come back and visit once a year. For him that was coming back to his roots.

Much as I like to imagine I'm a free spirit, I suppose I have to admit I have roots. And the fact that I don't use the objects any more doesn't mean they don't or won't have a use for me in future, or provide some much needed grounding.

There's no avoiding this. I have to go back and sort them out.


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