Trash and Tinsel

Yesterday our little neighborhood had its annual multi-family yard sale. Aviva had gone above and beyond the usual contributions-and-allowance model, insisting Friday night on doing half a dozen “chores.” She cleaned out her dresser drawers, neatened up my desk (the pile of bills does look so much better on the windowsill), set the table for dinner, fed the cat in the basement (she lives down there now, due to fear of Salvo), and started a load of laundry. At a dollar a pop, she raked in all of the singles left in my purse, stuffed them into a ziploc bag, and set out yesterday morning in search of new treasures. By noon, our household was fifteen stuffed animals richer. Pearl was less methodical in her approach, wandering instead between our house and the neighbor’s, where she finally settled on a new train movie.

As for us, we used it as an opportunity to drag the ancient little futon up from the basement (it was my bed after college). The bins of books we pulled off of basement shelves felt like a time capsule – things like “Fiction Writers’ Market” from 1990’s, the kinds of pre-internet books one scarcely even buys anymore. Greg’s sister’s crib, dusty and ready to be returned. Half the contents of my own dresser. We made approximately $11, half of which we spent last night on creemees at Al’s.

Solstice is tomorrow. I can’t believe how little sleep I’ve been operating on. It’s just so easy to get up at 5:00 this time of year. The early mornings beckon. I’ve been running.

Today, sitting and writing feels kind of like having a garage sale. Just gently going through my house and throwing an assortment of no-longer-needed thoughts and words and experiences into a box, a blog post. Nothing I’d expect anyone to buy, really. No price tags even. Offerings, yes.

Tomorrow, I will load everything into the back of the car and drive down to the Chittenden Solid Waste District drop-off on Pine Street. You know the one, with the little hut-like building where you can just drop stuff off for people to take? We’ve made a few discoveries there ourselves. Give and take. Cycle through. Clear space. It’s like the Hello, Goodbye Window, a wonderful children’s book my parents once gave to Aviva.

Fifteen years ago, when I was a senior in college, I collected all of my essays and papers from three years of being studious, bound them all up with a cardstock cover and these lines from Yeats. (A collection, by the way, that is also in a crate on some basement shelf.)


Thought is a garment and the soul’s a bride
that cannot in that trash and tinsel hide.

Did I think all of those words were mere garments, a jumble of trash and tinsel, some eye-catching stuff, and a lot of words to boot? I guess this is our work here, to keep looking through our stuff, to rummage and sort, to find it in ourselves to let go of things we never actually use or wear, to dress up in other people’s clothes and see what fits, and also to keep letting the soul just shine, shine through the trash, shine through the tinsel, the soul that doesn’t need dressing up at all.

And that, my friends, is my Sunday morning treatise on yard sales, Yeats, and self-discovery. If you find anything here you want, just take it. Leave a comment as payment, and pass it on.

9 thoughts on “Trash and Tinsel

  1. Jennifer says:

    Funny – we kept driving past a funky-looking yardsale yesterday as we to-ed and from-ed to different places. Finally, on our way home from the pool, the kids convinced me to stop. It was the jackpot, since they were closing down shop and everything was free. Two artists moving to Brooklyn. Tobey got two spotlights and a wooden box. Bella got a box of jewelry, a very cool recycled bag, and a copy of Whale Rider. I dragged a very heavy old university chair down two blocks, along with fistful of red pencils, and a chicory tin can. I felt like a merry band of little bohemians.

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  2. The Other Laura says:

    “I guess this is our work here, to keep looking through our stuff, to rummage and sort, to find it in ourselves to let go of things we never actually use or wear, to dress up in other people’s clothes and see what fits, and also to keep letting the soul just shine, shine through the trash, shine through the tinsel, the soul that doesn’t need dressing up at all.”

    I’ll take this sentence. I’ve been looking for one just like this!

    Like

  3. Nancy says:

    Love this little story…a garage sale gem I am happy to have found! Thanks for the Yeats quotation, too–a pleasant reconnection with an old “friend.”

    Like

  4. Renae C says:

    Your soul is shining like the 5am sunshine – and doesn’t need a bit of dressing up. Keep sorting and sifting and I’ll keep returning to see what treasures I find.

    Like

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