Wednesday, September 1, 2010


"Several years ago, standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon, I was amazed at the sheer beauty and majesty I saw before me. Taking in the colors of the rock, the many striated layers of ancient earth that made up the canyon walls, I was struck with feelings of awe and delight. Standing on the edge of the carpet in my father’s house, viewing the chaos and the layers of junk and paper, I was struck with similarly powerful, if slightly darker emotions. How in heaven’s name were we going to be able to make even a small dent in the huge mess that had taken over my childhood home?
Picture a big house, roughly 2700 square feet. Imagine the inside of the house as having layers of stuff, the geological strata that reminded me so forcibly of the Grand Canyon. The top layer, laid down the most recently, consisted of huge amounts of debris and recycling that Dad had accumulated over the years. Not quite at the point of finding bodies mashed flat and mummified between stacks of trash and paper, it was approaching critical mass.
Under that, the basics: furniture and curtains; house wares and food; clothing and carpeting. Below that rested years of accumulated tools, car and airplane parts, and toxic paint cans in the shop. Old books and my mother’s belongings, our old toys and things we’d left behind, Christmas decorations, ancient photo albums, and numerous boxes and full filing cabinets. Then, the accumulated years of papers and belongings of my parents; everything of mine and Big Sister’s that had been saved and stored; and whatever had made its way over when each of my grandparents had died."

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