We call this Heebie-Jeebie Day,
the day before we leave on a trip.
He likes to say, “It’s easy—just
throw things into the car. Not like
we’re getting on a plane,” which
requires more compression of stuff,
of the too-much gear I tend to bring.

But heading for the coast, I never
know (despite weather predictions)
whether I’ll need the warm pullover
and scarf and jacket or lightweight
pants and T-shirts. We linger at
the doorstep to summer, and the
Northern California coast can plunge
into a month of fog, or blaze with
sunshine and tiny purple iris
sprouting in every meadow.

We never know. Which is why
packing for the journey is difficult,
why I’ve amassed too much stuff
in this lucky, lovely life, why I
labor now to divest myself
of much of the stuff—the rest
of my life’s work.

Now I unpack, closet by closet,
room by room, pile by pile
of accumulated paper.
Unhanger the professorial outfits,
box the unremarkable books,
shred, trash, scrap, eliminate,
jettison, dispose of. Adios. Aloha.

This is the time of shedding.

Right after I pack a bag or four
for the forthcoming sojourn,
this pilgrim’s progress to the sea,
remind myself to resist the temptation,
as my feet traverse the Bluff Top trail
and pummeled quartz sand, to pocket
smooth stones and bits of shells,
to fill my pockets with tiny treasures
of this fleeting world.

Photo / Jan Haag

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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