As I made my journey from adolescence, to teen, to adulthood, I discovered that I was, and it seems, always had been, envious of those we call collectors. Whether it be crystal figurines, delicate, impossibly thin china cups, pens, watches, or even cake platters, it mattered not. I wanted to be part of the parade, I wanted to become one with the highly thought of, but highly diverse party of gatherers.
So it began in earnest, this quest of mine, this desire to become a bona fide collector. The problem that lay before me was wrapped up neatly in the focal identification question, a query any collector with any true inventory would know to ask: what did I collect?
I needed inventory.
I went on this quest with total enthusiasm, holding forth another question before me like a shield: How hard could it be?
As the years tumbled by, I continued my journey as I tried out various treasures: horse statues of varying size and weight, tiny blue Chinese vases I originally discovered in a store on Sparks Street in Ottawa, pencils…regular or art, both I favour, and my tried and true friends… books, books, and more books.
Personal Note: Do books really fall under the category of ‘a collection’? Do people who are not collectors per se just not own any books? I shudder at the thought and have to turn away. No books? Not possible! How could they live, how could they breathe?
And then I made a discovery, it was not an earth shattering epiphany, it was more a quiet moment of recognition. I sat here recently sorting through all the bits of paper that I seem to accumulate daily, all snippets of thoughts, of places, of quotes I admired, all hurriedly jotted down on paper big and small, fragments, like puzzle sections that when assembled, one against the other, told the story of what I must do.
As the jigsaw puzzle became clear to me, I understood that I am forever in search of those special words, words that when carefully placed side by side clearly shouted out for attention, clearly stated that I must stay focused on what I was doing, where I was going.
It is easy to become lost.
I found finally a treasurer of words that will stabilize me as I move forward, for I feel they, at this moment in my life, make me stand up and take notice.
Here are the words that are now part of my treasure chest: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?—-Mary Oliver