Tuesday, August 07, 2012

More on what is essential

James Caldwell, of the excellent Outdoor blog Old Gunkie in WY, wrote in with some thoughtful things to say about the meaning of "essential" possessions (see post below):

"I'm finding hard to know what the word "essential" means. My wife has been taking students to Central America on medical missions for years now. When she first started going she was deeply struck by the poverty and how little of anything people owned. Recently she reports having stopped noticing the poverty; or, rather, she does not see it in the same way. The people there seem to be mostly happy, and although things do seem to play an important role in people lives (there is fierce competition among the locals for the stuff the medical teams bring with them as donations), the lack of things is no longer surprising to her.

"This has me thinking that the notion "essential" is damn hard to pin down. Is my Jeffery Boxlock essential ? Well ... no, but I'd sure hate to give it up. Are the paintings given to us as a wedding gifts from friends essential? Certainly not, but they are deeply meaningful to us. When the fire came through here, I managed to load enough of the meaningful things in our lives into a car and a horse trailer. Of course, my wife was away in Honduras through the whole event. As the fire came down around the house that night (I watched from some distance), I was fairly sure it was going to burn. Large paintings of my wife's I could not move; an extensive book collection; the house! -- all would have been gone. I was rather calm, I thought, knowing that I had saved enough of the meaningful items from our lives that no matter where we lived, it would still be home. I think what makes a real sense of home is -- of course -- the people around you, and as for things, only when you have a personal relationship and history with them."

For me, certain books, guns, and art are still "essential" but the number of essential objects decreases, not increases, with time...


Yvonne said...

Wonderful post and it came at a good time for me. Due to unforeseen circumstances my husband and I are having to sell everything and start over again. We are having to decide what to keep, what is 'essential' and what is really important to us. Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

Gil said...

Stephen, thanks for the old gunkie link. Unfortunately, I inherited genes from my grandmother who had a black belt in hoarding. Family legend says she had a kitchen drawer marked "String, too short to save".
The old gunkie link contained a youtube video of a 1950s film of Frank Sawyer tying his classic pheasant tail nymph. Ole Frank makes it look easy. It is a real pia to tie as prescribed by him with no thread-only copper wire. Finding the thin wire is the hard part. Gil