I am opening boxes that have been packed and stored since the Summer of 2003. Even when we were settled in at our Rancho, it only lasted about three months, before we were back in boxes again. The net results are as follows:
We have at least three of any given household item. In the case of glue, we have about a dozen bottles, but I still had to run to the dollar store and add another bottle to our (missing) collection. We have dishes I do not remember buying. I found our breadmaker. We bought that as a moving consolation in 1994. We have more than one Scrabble set and several humidifiers.
UNpacking our things is both familiar and routine, and also like a surprise party with presents. w00ts! When did we get Champagne glasses? Why did we get Champagne glasses? Are these Champagne glasses ours?
The other night Max was looking for something new to read, and I realized that our books are actually 70% gathered in the same room, so I grabbed a flashlight and went to the library. Library. tee hee... me talk fancy. So I broke in to one box and found twenty-five years of SIGGRAPH journals. Then I peeled ancient tape from another box and hit pay dirt. Still tied together by red Christmas ribbon, three books sent by uncle Paul. I do not know when, but presumably a long time ago, he sent his books, favorites from a series his mother read aloud to him and Joel when they were small boys. Such a sweet gift, the loan of his childhood treasures for his nephews to enjoy. Thank you Paul.
I know. It raises some issues. Why were they still tied in their ribbon? How long did they languish in the dark? How many trips did they make from town to country and back again? Didn't anybody read them and love them and enjoy the kindness of the man sharing them?
I hang my head in shame.
I wince. Audibly.
But you gotta know, it is what happens when you pack and move and move and pack, and commute and relocate, when you pursue a dream and postpone gratification...
Things get left behind and stored for later, and later, well, sometimes it comes much later than we ever imagined. Sometimes later comes painfully late. It's not ideal, but we've been fortunate. Sure, there's been disappointment and collateral damages, but when we arrive at a place that sits to greet the rising sun and nurtures pine trees and flowers, when we want to read a new book and can find something wonderful in our very own library, then I have to say: We are fortunate. And unpacking, daunting as it is, can be like present time and full of surprises.