January 2, 2008

Moving Day

“Anybody who has ever suffered the ordeal of moving house will agree with me that even the best of one’s furniture, when brought into the daylight, looks frightful.”
-Beverley Nichols, A Thatched Roof, 1934

I didn’t think much of these words when I read them last night. I am quickly working my way through the entire collection of Nichols’s garden books, and they are so fully of witty aphorisms that it’s easy to overlook a few. But this morning, when the movers delivered all our worldly possessions to the Little Blue House, I saw the truth in this statement, in broad daylight.

For the last year and a half, while we were traipsing all over Europe, our furniture sat in a supposedly “air tight, climate controlled” storage unit in Arkansas. In my mind’s eye it had been accruing in value and developing a rich patina of antiquity. Homesickness, even for one’s own things, has a way of doing that, you know.

In reality, all they had been accruing were cobwebs, mold, and thick patina of dirt. “Frightful” is an understatement. Try “absurd” (the cello with the broken neck the neither of us plays) or “obscene” (the twenty boxes of books we will probably never read again). And that wrought iron garden furniture I bought at an estate sale for a song, the stuff that looked so “Shabby Chic”? Well, now it just looks shabby.

But no matter. They are our things, and we are as happy to have them back as if the were the most valuable treasures in all antiquity.

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