it’s time to pick all the blackberries

Everything feels cluttered lately, as if all the shelves, nooks, closets in my home are swollen with Things. Objects. Items which are symbols for feelings or status or power or appreciation or function. So many of these Things are beautiful, useful; they add value and pleasure to my life. But of course, so many of them don't.

I tend to be neat, to nest and decorate and sculpt my home, but I also come from a family of collectors. Sometimes I need reminders to really pause with an object and consider if it needs to take up physical space in the my house, and psychic space in my mind's inventory of What Is Mine.

I keep a give-away box tucked in a corner most of the time. When I find something I just don't need, I toss it in there. I (like much of the US) devoured The Live-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, illustrating the konmari method, and I go through phases of applying that concept to everything — does following this person on Twitter spark joy? Does looking at this art on my wall spark joy? Does this unconscious habit of mine spark joy?

Right now, I feel a desire to clear, to clean, to declutter. To purge all the cobwebs and really look at what I have. Sometimes I even ponder the question what would I keep, if I only had 100 things? Maybe it's because we are back-to-school which, as someone who has always oriented to the academic calendar, is the beginning of the year. The witch's new year comes up at the end of October, and the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, is in just a week or so. The calendar is resetting — how do I want to start anew?

Plus, it's the harvest. Time to bring in all the fresh tomatoes and make another batch of 67 pints of salsa (like my aunt just did), or pick all the blackberries within reach and freeze two big bags for winter pies and smoothies and compotes (like my boy just did).

It's time to digest last year and take in what is ripe right now.

For me, that has been a home purge: cleaning off my altar and bringing new symbols down to focus on, peeking in the closets to see what has accumulated there, moving the furniture to get all the cat hair this time. It's been a digital purge: what are all these things on my desktop? Why is everything in my download folder? It's been a nutrition purge: beginning a 3-month restriction to reboot my digestion. It's been an intake purge: I muted the words "white house" and "president" on Twitter, because I've just had enough for now.

I'm making room for ready for something new. Readying to push my edges a little bit. Do something daring, maybe even dangerous (with the right kind of training!). Stretch. Manifest one of those tickling desires that is still there in the periphery. Gather the fruit up into my open, outstretched arms, bugs and stems and scratches and juice and all, and take them home.

— Zed

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