I have a recurring fantasy that I own nothing except what fits in a camper small enough to be hauled by my Honda.
And that fantasy is strongest when I have to clean and put away a few of the thousands of items that I own.
Today I couldn’t put it off any longer: It was time to clean the shed at the cabin.
It is not a very big shed, maybe 7 by 7 feet, but it was completely crammed with junk. And this spring, mice invaded. Oh, joy.
Mouse droppings everywhere. Little mousie shreds of paper, cardboard, and fabric to make little mousie nests. The bastards even chewed the dust masks.
I was afraid to breathe in there, figuring it was just one big mass of hantavirus.
And where mice go, snakes are sure to follow.
So I pulled every item out of the shed. Some stuff went into the junk pile – an old dresser with only one working drawer, mice-chewed items, various odds and ends that you think you will use but don’t. The rest was strewn across the yard to be sorted, inventoried, and cleaned.
Then I swept every corner and shelf – holding my breath, running back out to get a lungful of clean air, since I had no dust mask. And sprayed every surface in the entire shed with a bleach cleaning solution.
It was back-breaking labor, and it took me almost four hours. At the end of it the shed was sort of clean, and you could actually walk into it and look around. But I’ll just have to do it again next year.
The whole operation made me hate possessions – again. As if I needed another reason.
Ram Dass, in his lovely book “Still Here,” wrote of someday having a robe with no pockets. Although he’s talking about aging, it sounds pretty good to me some days to have shed all need for possessions: no cell phone, no to-do lists, not even a hair clip.
And definitely no shed.
Today’s penny is a 1993, the year that the Sin Nombre hantavirus was first recognized.