For a week now, we’ve been living in our new house among a sea of boxes. Piece by piece, we unpack our old life and see how it fits with our new life. Already we find that some loved items simply don’t fit into this (smaller) house. We knew this would be the case. Part of the reason for coming here was to simplfy and downsize. Letting go isn’t easy though, and we put a lot of things into the ‘think about it later’ category, and take it out to the shed. Not very many things are in the area we have designated for giving away or selling.
Neither of us are materialistic by nature. Partly, I think the difficulty in letting go stems from linking these items to memories we hold dear. These items link back to a person who has since died, or for some reason no longer part of our life. They remind us of that sunny day in the market when we found such a unique piece! Or they embody an idea about ourselves which seems so central, even though the item itself isn’t used. The other part of the equation is an urge to collect. As a creative person, I’m very aware that I collect items which spark ideas. So while other people see a lot of clutter, I see shelves overflowing with visual prompts for future projects. Simplifying our lives also means uncluttering our minds to a certain degree, so perhaps in time, as we develop a new way of living, we will be able to view our ‘treasures’ through a different lens. It will be interesting to see how this develops. In the meantime, we are lucky to have a lot of storage space in the outer buildings.
The process of unpacking is slow and interrupted by the inkling of a new routine. Heating is though a wood fired stove in the lounge room. Checking, stoking and feeding the fire is something I have never done before. I find this almost rythmic in the way it punctuates my day. Unpack a box, feed the fire, clean up the kitchen, stoke the fire, unpack another box, feed the fire, check the mail and feed the birds, stoke the fire… even the cats are fascinated by the flames. They spend hours basking in its warmth while watching the birds outside.
The previous owners had set up two bird feeders just outside the loungeroom window. While I recognise that it isn’t always a good idea to feed wild birds, these birds are used to being fed. I also see them forraging for other types of food, so I have continued to provde a small amount of bird seed each day. One of the great joys of the past week has been taking a breather to watch them feed. The galahs are always the first to land. They nest in a tree alongside the house, so they have a good vantage point. Crimson rosellas are also frequent visitors. Occasionally a sulphur crested cockatoo will stop by on its way somewhere else, and we have magpies as well.
Other birds on our property include kookaburras, blue wrens, cormorants, wood ducks – and probably many more, but these are the ones we have sighted. I’m still searching for our Field Guide to Australian Birds which is somewhere in a box. In the meantime, I am starting to capture the birds I have seen. Enjoy these photos while I get back to unpacking boxes… and stoking the fire.