My personality has many facets, so I expect that my blog will as well if it is to accurately reflect me. It definitely would not be a complete picture of me without some aspect of photography (Did ya catch that? Clever, hunh?) and of course, old stuff. I love taking pictures, and I love old stuff.
Old stuff like books. I love gingerly flipping through yellowed pages wondering who read those words, sliding my hand over the dusty cover, thinking of all the hands that may have touched this book before mine. Who were they? Where did they live? Where did they go? Why did they have this book? Did they like it?
I have an old trunk in my living room, (a couple of them actually) and I always wonder what stories that trunk could tell. Where has it been? What treasured belongings and worthless objects has it held? Did it travel far, or rest confined in an attic somewhere?
You see, as a storyteller, I believe the stories are all around us, just waiting to be told. Not all of them get spoken out loud, written in books, or captured in music, sculpture, and dance. Sure, pictures capture moments and retell the story time and time again. But our old stuff tells stories too. You just have to pay attention and be willing to hear them.
I had the pleasure of photographing this beautiful forgotten property last summer. As we carefully maneuvered through rotted boards, the dust swirled around us with someone else’s memories disturbed. I get chill bumps when I go in places like that, just thinking of all the life that has been lived before me.
How much laughter have these walls heard? How many tears did these stones shelter within? Was the family happy here? Was this a peaceful place lulled to sleep by the gurgle of the river passing by?
What stories this rocking chair could tell! How many babies fell asleep to its gentle sway, and who did they become? Did a mother cradle a child sick with fever as she rocked in prayer? Did someone find a heartbeat of security in a daddy’s arms as the floor boards creaked the chair’s rhythm?
And why was this chair left behind? Alone in a house to rock no more, surrounded by the remnants of life and things left behind, not worthy of making the last move. I look at what was left here and wonder when these possessions ceased to matter, stored and forgotten.
I freak myself out sometimes with my stories and my wonderings. I get all spooky-feeling. I am aware that I am looking through my lens at the past, and I almost expect to see the past step into the frame, looking through the window back at me. (Thankfully the past stayed where it was for this shot. I would have had a heart attack!)
Our possessions don’t make us who we are, but they certainly tell a lot about who we were. It makes me curious . . . when someone sifts through what I leave behind, what will they wonder about me? And what stories will my old stuff tell them?
I think I’m going to spend the rest of life gathering really interesting stuff. I’m going to fill my house with the weirdest possible conglomerate of junk so that my future sifters will find incredible stories waiting in the dust! (Could be a great excuse for shopping and NOT dusting!) There’ll be really off-the-wall items that don’t belong together and have no obvious purpose. The future sifters will scratch their heads and say “I wonder….”
What stories my old stuff will tell, long after my pages have yellowed!