Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Things Go

It's a simple lesson, really: things go. Everything goes. Every thing goes. Why then so hard to learn? You stand among the ruins of what once was where you lived, and you watch things go. The man has come with his crew to take them. By arrangement. You sold them to him, willingly. That was the transaction. Now he has come to take them: the Mission bench from the living room, the glass-topped coffee table, the copper lamp with the woodland design lampshade; the bright, decorative British tea set from the 1930s, called "Bizarre;" the oak buffet; glasses and china; silverware and linens; rugs from the homes of grandparents, worn with their comings and goings, long ago, and their pictures, the grandparents themselves, in ornate frames. They carry them out, the crew, and load them on their truck, and you stand and watch. Such a simple lesson: non-attachment. What you have tried to learn, these past few years, from the Buddhist teachers and their wisdom. And yet the pain is there. With each little object, its own tug. Old friends. They were comfortable, familiar. You watch them disappear, and the pain is there. You wonder where they will end up. Some to be kept, some to be sold, some to be thrown out on the trash heap. Things go. And you remember, this is your choice. To let things go. You remember, you remind yourself: there were those, not long ago, in those unwelcome hurricanes, whose things were snatched from them cruelly, overnight, swept away by wind and water, leaving nothing. No thing. And you remember, too, you remind yourself: there are those who live, perpetually, with no thing. Millions of them. Not by choice. And you remember, you remind yourself: every thing must go. Even the forests. Even the mountains, even the oceans. The planet itself must go. That old star, sun, must go. And you watch these little things in your life disappear, and you can't help it: you still feel the pain.

2 comments:

Fred Thompson said...

Beautiful. Thanks, Peter

Fred

bettz said...

Peter, that was both sad and lovely. Things do go, and you are wise to try to lessen attachments to "things". But, sometimes our lives seem to be defined by our "things". That is the sad part. Thanks for your writing.