Saturday, March 6, 2010

Is this really about boxes?

The number of monophasics who dwell among us may be shockingly underestimated. I am one, a creature who - before the grating "multi-tasking" insinuated itself into the vocabulary - could do it all, or at least most of it. Family, paying job, volunteer work, study, social life, creativity - previously I could think several thoughts simultaneously. No longer. I cannot actively listen to anything and write at the same time. And when writing started calling to me, insistently and often, around the end of last year, I chose to pay attention.

As a result, chores remain undone and one of the chores is dealing with all the boxes that have come indoors since before Christmas.

Our apartment building has one dumpster, emptied three times a week, serving 22 units which have a tenant turnover that is not frequent but results in a lot of discards. It is wise to throw things away as soon as the empty bin is returned from the street. ( I will mention that the trash area is down two flights of stairs, through half the carport and around a corner, in case that helps explain why things weren't dealt with as soon as they arrived.) So we have reasoned over the years that flattening cardboard cartons is the neighborly thing to do; empty boxes needlessly usurp valuable disposal space. Which brings us to this rainy Saturday, a fresh roll of duct tape and lots of brown, corrugated cardboard.

I have found that in any box assortment I will be able to salvage sides that lend themselves to artwork. So the first step is deconstruction. After removing the choicer cuts, what remains is folded and flattened and restrained into as small a depth as possible, hence the duct tape. You might think the hunt for usable art material would encourage addressing this business in what they call a timely fashion. In most other people that would probably be true. What I did not reveal was that, in addition to being able to do only one thing at a time, I also tend to procrastinate. When they hold the Frittering Olympics, I hope my mind and calendar will be clear.

So collapsing and compacting boxes is what awaits me today, yet here I am writing. There is no thunder at the moment - carpe diem - and I wanted to see what I could accomplish before it returns. An electrical storm is no danger in box compressing, as it can be in using a computer, or so I rationalize. The door to the studio is blocked by these interlopers for which we have no space. I can barely reach the copier without shifting the discards, then putting them back when I'm done. What they say is true: we can be our own worst enemies.

In a world of tsunamis, famine, war, disease and, at minimum, hundreds of thousands of things that matter, could I have chosen a more trivial topic? Yes. This really isn't about the boxes; it is about how we give our energy and intention to what matters most, or we do if we want to move forward along what I can only call our path. There will always be tasks that need doing and they will be addressed. But when intuition or a higher wisdom speaks in nearly audible tones, we ignore that direction at our peril. By doing just one thing at a time, I take just one step at a time, never knowing where it will lead. I believe we each have a destiny, we are parts of a greater plan, and when we are fortunate enough to have even a shard of information about what our place in it may be, I know what action I will choose.

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