With the smoke and the fire and the stars at night

Up again in the morning bright

With nothing but road and sky in sight

And nothing to do but go...

—old hobo poem

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Darn Stuff Follows Me Around...

This box of sheets followed me home from who knows where. How many sheets does a Burro owner need, anyway? And what about that rocker—any takers?

I've never been much impressed with stuff, whether it  belongs to other people or to me. I've never considered myself very materialistic, nor do I enjoy conspicuous consumption. I've always figured it was nice to have things, but sometimes it was nicer not to.

The only stuff Cassie likes is dog toys and biscuits. She worries too much about everything else—she might have to guard it or something.

But I can remember my first longing for a material possession, and I was pretty young, so I guess I'm human after all. I was about 11 and desperately wanted a beautiful hand-tooled saddle with German silver trim. I pined for that saddle and hoped and wished and even got a job working lunch time in the school cafeteria, washing dishes. 

Finally, my parents actually got the saddle for me. It was a rare thing to get something that nice and made a big impression on me. I decided mostly that the wanting was better than the getting, because stuff is never as cool as you think it's gonna be, even when you're 11 and you just got the best saddle in the universe.

I really like this oil painting of the desert in Western Colorado—do you think it would fit in the Burro?

I've owned four houses to date (along with the bank), and they were all pretty nice. Having a house has a lot going for it, but it's also a great way to store all the stuff that seems to follow you around when you're not looking. You accumulate this and that and before you know it, that stuff's snuck up on you and moved in and you have a houseful to support. Like they say, it owns you. Thus the birth of that great American institution, the yard sale (it's probably how you got a lot of that junk in the first place).

Fulltime RVers know exactly what I'm talking about. That stuff follows you around for years and you have the darndest time getting rid of it. You may think you're done, only to remember those boxes in your kid's basement, the ones you forgot to label and can no longer recall what they contain.

I have less than one week to get out of my current rental cottage and move into my little Burro. I thought I had everything under control, having gotten rid of so much stuff since selling my last house. (I could write a book about that alone. I really didn't have that much stuff, it was just hard to part with, like my Navajo rug collection.)

The only stuff I really like is wild stuff, like this dead juniper snag up on the San Rafael Swell in Utah.

I don't know where this stuff came from, and I sometimes think it replicates itself like a bad virus when I'm not looking. It's good stuff, but I don't want it anymore. I wish I could kindly tell it to go away, but it looks like I'm going to have to dump it at the Goodwill store and then drive like heck so it can't catch up with me. Seems kind of inhumane to me, but I know somebody else can give it a better home. 

But not to worry, it will probably catch up to me again, even if in another form. Dang stuff. 

Actually, this is another materialistic bent I have—electronic gadgets. You've heard of a boombox, well, this is a boomcan. You can carry it everywhere and it's charged by your computer. The sound quality's not that bad, if you're kinda deaf anyway from all those rock concerts you went to as a kid. At least it's little stuff.


  1. We already have one house full of stuff & now we are about to fill up another one. And then there is the Motorhome....Oh no, say it isn't so:((

  2. Not only do I have my stuff following me, but I have my mom's stuff, my gramma's stuff and my sisters stuff following me around! This year I had to drive a 12 foor cargo van from FL here to NM full of stuff! As we have been unpacking this stuff, I had had the constsnt nag in my head, "why'd you bring this stuff Geri? They are dead, they are gone, they don't give a damn about this stuff anymore!" Art is my addiction, especially Native American art. Sheeeesh.... not sure I can ever let go of my art! So for now, we have this 60 foot mobile home up on a hill.... mainly used for storing my stuff.

  3. LOL Geri - a big mobile home - I can relate! I had three big storage units full after I sold my house, and I'd already got rid of a bunch of stuff. I've hauled it all over and finally pared it down to a few things, but it took 5 years and lots of work. Like you, I love art and that's about all I have left.

    And Al, I've been watching you and Kelly and am very worried...that stuff's taking over, you be careful! It'll make those javalinas look like a picnic! :) :)

  4. We decided 2 years ago that we're retiring early and the minute we decided I started unloading stuff with glee! Winter is when I get on Craig's list and Ebay and start selling. The basement is almost empty, and I keep up on my Goodwill clothing donations routinely. I'm already in the habit of if something new is bought something else has to go. At least once a month I look around while cleaning what's left in our small 3 BR ranch and wish I could put it all out on the curb now! We've moved often over the years so compared to others we've always kept our "stuff" in check, but it's amazing how many things you hesitate to part with "just in case". My two kids in college will be taking another chunk with them...soon I hope! I won't miss any of it and don't plan to keep anything but the photo albums.

  5. You are very smart. Get rid of it while it doesn't suspect anything. Kind of like sneaking out the door when the dogs can't go with you, you have to be very wary. :)

  6. No forwarding address! If it insists, tell it "General Delivery, USA."

  7. Oh wait, now I have an idea...

    What was your addy again?

  8. I know what you mean about stuff -- it seems to appear out of thin air. I have no other explanation for where it comes from. I just wish it could disappear as quickly...

    Enjoy your stay in that Burro. It looks like a great little home.

  9. Thanks, PJ. You of all people appreciate what a good home really means!

  10. Oh boy Navajo rug collection. You are determined. My "stuff" wasn't as cool as yours so I didn't have much trouble saying so long.


  11. My dad left 50 years' worth of stuff for my brother and I to take care of. Some of it we didn't even know what it was (he was a HAM radio operator, so we had to call his buddies to ID stuff). It took us a month to get rid of it all, and a lot went to the railroad museum in Ridgway, Colorado. He had interesting stuff, though way too much of it.

    I'm pretty much determined nobody will have to do that with my stuff. My brother's even worse (better?) than I am, he doesn't even own a car. :)