I’m still reading about the Anasazi. Even though they built cities, they were primarily wanderers. “Tethered wanderers” as some archeologists say. When it was time to move on, to go where water and game were, they would burn their homes in sort of rituals of leaving. They would lay out certain items, like a basket of corn meal nested in a basket of corn, covered by an overturned decorative bowl. Or an urn of turquoise nuggets. Or a headless rattlesnake straight as an arrow. We can only speculate why, but these offerings or symbols or charms tell us they destroyed their homes with a purpose. Maybe the burnings were to say, “We’re done here. This part of our lives is over. Don’t look back.”
If so, I can totally relate. I got to the point I was so done with home ownership and everything that goes with it that I could've burned it all down. (Except I needed the money from the sale of the house.) That part of my life was over. I wasn’t looking back. Would the new owner mind if I left a snake on the living room floor?
Downsizing, getting rid of a household of stuff, giving up cherished items—it’s a common theme on van dweller forums. It can be overwhelming. And, with some people, you can sense the ambivalence. They want to go, but is there some way to hold onto the old life, too?
Maybe modern Western culture needs rituals of leaving. Maybe we need intentional fires—actual or metaphorical—in our lives, burning it all down and starting fresh.