Museums house the collective dreams of the anthropologist in each of us. We humans celebrate a general curiosity and regard for antiquities. But most of all, we ‘exhibit’ an inherent need for ‘DESIDERATA (Latin for ‘DESIRED THINGS’). More energetic than the hushed hallowed halls of libraries, museums encourage conversation. And even though we share a desire for tactile reassurance, we can look but not touch. Objects under glass are beyond our reach. And so we reach elsewhere for living contact.
THE MIND IS A STOREHOUSE OF TREASURES
We’re a possessive species; we amass everything from sea glass and heart-shaped stones to the rare loves of our life. The most evolved of our species invite pets into their world. We especially revere cats and dogs.
But most of all we accumulate memories. And since humans are hardwired to remember ‘THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY’, we each become the custodian of an emotional hoard of personal ticking artifacts. We are the curators of our own inner museums. Glass houses with shutters and padlocked doors, closed to the public. We are prone to fear too many ‘things’. Death is one of the biggies.
“Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.”
– DESIDERATA – by Max Ehrmann
When ‘things go wrong’, it’s tough to remember that last line. We live in a universe of dualities, so although Thanksgiving Day is set apart to highlight the GOOD, it also stirs up the SAD.
SNAPSHOTS HUNG IN A HEART GALLERY
My personal museum is a complex of white carpeted halls. My nostalgic exhibits include the usual emotional flags and fears that haunt everyone’s calendars. Thankfully, I also harbor a sea of favorites: being a mom, the season of Autumn, music from the sixties and seventies, cats, dogs, elephants, tigers, art, the sounds of Gregorian chanting… and rain.
The museum behind my eyes is filled with memories captured in neurons and pixels. Everything is filed and shelved and catalogued. The carpets are immaculate. I believe my muse, who hangs out there (after all it IS called a MUSEum) is a house-proud librarian.
THE GOOD TODAY
I’m especially thankful that Peyton came to stay. A gentle ‘lassie’ wearing white stockings, ears like velvet, and warm eyes that expressed her own thank-fullness of being cherished as part of our family.
Today it’s ‘pouring cats and dogs’, so I’m thankful for the comforting sounds of rain. And grateful for the commonplace life of rehearsed indoor tasks that thankfully ask little more of me than peripheral attention. I’m thankful for the companionship of felines at my feet, earl grey tea, and a blanket of ‘GOOD GRIEF’.
THE SAD TODAY
Peyton is gone. My thanks move seamlessly from the humane to the mundane – the compassionate dignified face of euthanasia, and a path over the uneven landscape of loss. The sad constancy of ongoing routines: the picking up of dropped threads, sorting, washing, cleaning, cooking, writing, and the task of putting an empty corner to rights that has more meaning now for its emptiness.
THE UGLY TODAY
The jagged morning after and uneven waves of mourning that return as mini aftershocks. Feeling disoriented. The sympathetic shadow of writer’s block accompanied by the never-ending chaotic stupidity of ‘Windows 10’. Work is flavorless. I’m more aware of how many cats and dogs are in desperate need of comfort and good homes. And sadly, the space Peyton left is as great as the space she once filled.
… but then I remember another stanza of Max Ehrmann’s DESIDERATA:
“With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”
That’s a tough one, Max. No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should but giving thanks for time with Peyton is the best memory I can rally this Thanksgiving weekend.
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