This time off is sucking the motivation right out of me. It's not so much the time off, but the task I assigned myself. For a half year I've been tripping over boxes and containers. I've been looking at the mess piled in the corner of the room and turning my head away. It has been a persistent drain on my psyche to know it is there, yet postponing the inevitable. These are the remnants of once upon a time. When I was living with my parents, they were tucked away neatly in a storage garage about ten miles from their house. I didn't see it everyday. I didn't have to think about it. I didn't have to deal with it. I could tuck that piece in the shadowy corners and draw the drapes. I could postpone.

One can only do that for so long. They don't go away. They are still sitting there waiting to be dealt with. Clutter drains the well being out of a person. How many times must I stub my toe? How many times will I need something that I know is buried in the recesses, yet will not going hunting for because of the cobwebs surrounding? How many times will I sneeze and rub my eyes because of the dust accumulating? It is not healthy.

When I first moved out on my own, I was stopped cold half way through sorting through the mess by a small box. 10x8.5x2. I collect bits and pieces for future use. Key pieces of my journey. I have been asked why I did not throw these away when he left. I have heard of so many people that will burn these up, rip them to shreds, and fling them to the four winds. How do you throw away a part of your life? I can't grasp that. I save key things to help me remember. This is also why I write. There is a strong chance that when I come to the end of this road, I will not be able to remember a thing. I consider this my memory's insurance policy.

And so the very box that stopped me cold, is staring up at me again. I put it aside and go through the others containers of the previous chapters. Old photos, old phonographs. old receipts. Trip books, maps, bills, planners, calenders. It is a quagmire. I pull out what I need for this chapter and place it in one pile. I pull out what I want to remember right now from the last chapter and also put this into the now pile. Then I carefully repack away what I may want to remember at a future time. I am not so foolish as to think I can erase time. I am not so naive as to think there were only bad times. There were many many good times and this is what hurts so much. I am remembering those times more clearly than the bad ones now and I miss them. It's an ache that settles at the core of the belly. It is not a comfortable feeling. But it is not any more uncomfortable than pretending that the memories are not there cluttering up and collecting dust.

I put the small box with the letters into the future use container. I remember what they say. I see one envelope and I can remember the first feeling I got when I opened it. I laughed shaking my head in amusement at the words "you are the apple in my eye". I don't have to open it, the feeling is wrapped around the outside of it like a christmas ribbon. It leaves me wistful. And so, I know that someday I will laugh again when I open it, perhaps to show to our grandkids how their grandfather tried his hand at writing his heart. It's a good piece that I will not try to erase.

Garbage bags line the chain link fence outside my door. There is a lot of it. Card board boxes are broken down and piled high. It looks messy, but it blends in with all the other garbage dumped outside in this welfare neighborhood. I pride myself that the outside of our corner is always neat and tidy. It is a direct contrast to the surrounding areas. Looks can be deceiving. Now my inside clutter becomes the outside. I know by next Tuesday when I return home from work, they will be gone. The inside comes close to matching the outside.

Still, it sucks the motivation right out of me. I have four more containers to deal with. My emotions run rampant this week. It is messy. It is exhausting. I would rather just crawl back into bed, but there is no fairy with a magic wand who will deal with this for me. I will not wake up to neat and tidy, shiny and new. It doesn't work that way. I have to be my own white horse. And so, I will go charging on, because I have to. Such is the way.