Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting, Gathering, Guarding and Grooming.


“The world is too much with us; late and soon
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers"

This wonderful quote of William Wordsworth was sent by a blogger friend the other day in response to my post on Crackberries.

It got me thinking.

Then again most things these days get me to thinking.

As in: most of our lives revolve around stuff. The getting and gathering of it, the guarding of it from predators, the grooming (i.e. maintaining and cleaning) of it.

I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone. Maybe it is the elder years that throws a clear sharp floodlight on to our own behaviours. It is only now I see that all of it is so empty and frivolous and meaningless. One only has to go to a mall and sit on a bench and be absolutely and completely astonished at what people are doing there. What is everyone buying? Really. And is there ever enough of it?

Lately I think that what brings me the most pleasure is the interior life that is only satisfied with stuff that can’t be bought.

The sunsets that I resolved to see daily since the beginning of the year.
The daily walk on the shore or around my daughter’s locale with one of our dogs.
The perusal of driftwood or a lovely stone or a shell.
The satisfying woodpile beside my stove.
The glowing faces of dear friends and family across the dinner table (and I’ve had a surfeit of that in the last two weeks and still want more!).
The smell of cooking and baking on the wood stove.
The recounting of the daily doings of friends and family,
The knitting of a few rounds of a sock,
The CD painstakingly copied by a friend because he knew I would enjoy it.
The revisiting of pictures of the work of the architect Gaudi with dear friends,
The multi-generational chat with my daughter and the grandgirl of a book all three of us had read,
The news of an upcoming wedding of a nephew in Ireland,
Being privy to the lives of a whole batch of young nieces and nephews who’ve befriended me on Facebook,
The plans for a dinner dance in my village this Friday.
And getting out of Dodge while fam and friends are still telling me my stay was far, far too short.
I return to The Rock tomorrow. To my beloved Newfoundland.

{Photo above is of the Toronto Eaton Centre}

23 comments:

  1. There are lots of happy moments throughout the day that are caused by the littlest, most insignificant things and they are usually for free, or very cheap. It doesn't take much to be satisfied on the happiness scale. It's the absence of sadness that will do it and the conscious knowledge of that. That's a blessing that I rate as a happiness and a thing of proud possession.

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  2. Luckily I'm a typical bloke who hates shopping, so I never accumulate useless stuff. The non-material things are much more satisfying. We had a lunch party for a whole bunch of friends last weekend, and the conversation and general conviviality was great fun. You don't get much wit and wisdom out of an object, however pretty and fashionable it is.

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  3. Sounds like you have had a most satisfying time in The City, good for you!

    Nothing like a visit to a huge shopping mall to expose how nutty modern shopping culture is, if you have eyes to see. But aren't those geese (in the photo) marvelous?

    Have a safe trip home!

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  4. actually - I am really hoping that my year travelling will teach me important lessons to do with that quote. I think about it an awful lot. Fingers crossed I will emerge a better person whose 'powers' will be wasted less and less with less getting and spending.

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  5. Well stated o wise one. I too came to the same conclusion about the lemming like craze for accumulating "stuff" many moons ago.

    safe trip back to the Rock ,eh

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  6. GSW:
    Absence of sadness. Absolutely. And awareness is a wonderful gift, when the small becomes hugely important.
    XO
    WWW

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  7. Nick:
    There is nothing I like more than a gathering of kindred spirits and conviviality.
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Annie:
    I agree on the geese. And I did have a marvellous time, enhanced by meeting you, my dear!!!
    XO
    WWW

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  9. Conor:
    You are on a deep and satisfying journey to yourself, I'll be on the edge of my seat reading about your exploits!!
    XO
    WWW

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  10. GFB:
    Thank you for the good wishes!
    XO
    WWW

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  11. Travel safely and enjoy rediscovering your own space.

    A burglary here a few years ago relieving me of 'objects', made me realise that they were only material things and I still had my memories. Nobody, but nobody would take them away!

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  12. Whoo hoo, Eaton Center! I will be there next month! Sorry, have I missed the point of this post? :) Seriously www, you are right, and have a safe journey home.

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  13. Malls are peculiar places aren't they? Does all that stuff ever get sold? There's so much here in the USA. So much stuff. We're beginning to sound a bit George Carlin-ish here.

    With that list of goodies you have some good stuff of a better kind coming up. I'm glad!

    Happy trails!

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  14. Tonight I went to a local mall to buy a pair of shoes, and when the man who helped me was ringing up my purchase, he mentioned Black Friday, and I winced. Who would want to go shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year? Thousands of people, he told me, and their take that day is more than double the take on a typically busy Saturday. Christmas is coming, and I want to tell my friends and family to please please please don't buy me "stuff." When my ex-husband died, my daughter spent days going through his apartment and getting rid of his "stuff" when she should have been grieving with her family. Since then, I have gradually lightened my load, giving away, throwing away, paring down. And still the stuff comes into my home.

    Thank you, my friend, for your list of every-day satisfactions. As I'm falling asleep tonight, I will be appreciating the way the street light throws a shadow of the honey locust tree onto my dark wall.

    And welcome home.
    v

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  15. Well put. We have moved so much that I haven't kept a lot of stuff. Well there is the box of rocks, pine cones, and feathers.
    Malls are not my thing. I worked one christmas season in one and that cured me. As I get older it is the moments with family and friends I truly charish and try to hang on to.
    Safe journey home.

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  16. Love is the most important thing in life, closely followed by good hair and nice teeth. If you have good hair and nice teeth, no one really notices the rest so that's what I spend my money on! As a result I'm dressed by e-Bay, and ironically find myself the best dressed I've ever been on a budget, finally able to find things I like which I cannot find in the shops and which actually fit my 5'9" frame.

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  17. I will amend the above to Love and good friends as the most important thing in life. But something furry with a leg in each corner and a wagging tail also goes a long way.

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  18. GM:
    A burglary is a dreadful violation but it does give one perspective!
    I'm glad you were physically unhurt with your memories intact!
    XO
    WWW

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  19. Oh Jenny:
    You are in Toronto when I'm not!
    I won't be back until February.
    One of these days I'll get to meet you and Nick!!
    XO
    WWW

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  20. T:
    George Carlin, tee-hee and yes I've wondered the same. I think some of the more expensive remainders in such place (i.e. Donna Karan coats) are shipped to northern outports in Newfoundland where I picked up one such piece for my daughter last year for something like $50. Retail over $1000.
    Go figure.
    XO
    WWW

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  21. Hi Verna:
    A great lesson indeed - I remember doing a post on the Walmart Sale Stampede when no one even stopped to help a person trampled to death for 'stuff'.
    I, too, have pared down dramatically. Four pairs of shoes including 'wellies'. (From about 100 pairs, I would think).
    Insanity.
    XO
    WWW

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  22. Thanks Brighid.
    I love your collection of 'stuff'. Mine is a collection of clam shells from the shore that serve as spoon rests and teabag holders and candle holders.
    XO
    WWW

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  23. Laura:
    Our four legged wise ones, yes, are so precious indeed. And love and friendship.
    I too am a fan of ebay, mainly for cast iron pots for the woodstove that will last for generations.
    XO
    WWW

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