The Edge of the Wood

by John Messeder, Nemophilist & Ecological Storyteller

Moving “stuff”

I would rather be finding vernal ponds in in late summer.What is it with the female of our species that, when she is overcome with  a special kind of ambition that can only be satisfied by cleaning up piles of “stuff” collected by her mate.

It happened a week or so ago with my spouse. She suddenly decided the garage needed reorganizing. Translation: Seek out piles of stuff of questionable future need. Either it goes to my heirs, the recycling center, or placed on one of those flea-market apps that might get other collectors to pay money for my junk.

I have to admit I probably will never again use the spin-fishing rods and reels that have stood in a corner for a few years. I’ll keep my Fenwick fly rod and Dad’s reel and maybe one day sally forth in search of water with safe-to-eat trout.

Maybe my son would like the spinning gear. I don’t know who might eventually want the fly tackle.

Some of the seeming “stuff” is actually my feeble attempt at pretending I’m younger than I am — a little pretense that one day restart bicycle riding, for instance. I was raised in a county almost a twin to Adams, and I rode my bicycle all over it.

A few boxes have been moved, from where she placed them the last time she reorganized the garage. I used to keep the box of canoeing stuff — the life jackets, tiedowns, etc. — in the back of the car, but the canoe fell into disuse as I pursued other wanderings, and there came too many reasons this summer to need the space in the Outback’s way-back.

Pieces of wood remaining from a variety of projects have suddenly been evicted from the corner in which they have waited patiently for their lives to be given purpose. One board became spacer the other week for a new Lazy Susan in the kitchen. So the remaining wood has been re-stood.

Mom used to occasionally be struck by such fits of reorganization. Her M.O. was to send me to clean the garage, where any scrap pieces of hose, pipe or wood left from Dad’s projects would be loaded into the back of the Jeep and carried to the dump (in the days before they were called landfills.)

Invariable, two or three weeks would go by before Dad would be looking for that three-foot piece of pipe he just knew he’d put over behind the snowthrower.

In my younger years, Uncle Tom regularly claimed that when he would visit us and leave his wife alone, she would go down to his woodworking shop and clean up. She put all the tools where they seemed to belong, neatly hung on the pegboard, or safely stored in drawers. She sorted and stacked the wood.

“She’s cleaned my workshop and now I can’t find a thing,” Uncle Tom would later say.

There are tools in our garage useful for a variety of as-yet unknown purposes. I know from experience I will not be able to find them when I need them.

But I must admit when she is done, the garage will look nice. For a week or so, maybe a month, there will be room to walk through the space. During the winter, we will pile stuff in the open floor space, slowly burying any temporary resemblance to a one-car garage.

Sometime next spring or summer, just about when I’ve discovered the new location of a few things I had given up seeking, She Who Must be Loved Will be over-wrought with energy.

And a need once again to clean up “stuff.”

1 Comment

  1. Sounds very familiar!

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