Saturday, July 1, 2017

Burn it down

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.


4 comments:

  1. I feel the same way. I've had my home for sale for a couple years, would have been sold last year but buyer couldn't come up with the money. Now sale is pending but I've been told I'm in a flood zone that I wasn't in when I bought it. Woulda' been much easier if it would've burned down.

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  2. I feel that the process of going through things and deciding what to give to family, what to try to sell, what to donate, what to trash, and what few things to keep was enough of a leaving that life ritual for me. It felt good to have it all be done.

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  3. I suspect the ancient wanderers got tired of carrying crap around. Including the zhit in their head.

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  4. I suspect the ancient wanderers got tired of carrying crap around.

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