i would toss them all into the sea

Life, distilled. A day spent with la familia under sun and in the waves. Laughter, lots.

Afterwards, in the dark, thoughts of how ephemeral life is and how moments like these are to be lived and enjoyed now, treasured later.

What is important, really?

If your house was burning, what would you take with you?

Lauren Spisak, 34, Cleveland, Ohio

That is the opening line of a very brief intro. to Foster Huntington’s tumblr called, of course, “The Burning House.” He continues:

It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.

How quickly you are drawn into the site, mesmerized as you peruse each person’s page and their photo of their chosen objects.

Oh there are the practical items: matches, knives, blankets, etc. for the survivalist in all of us. There is also a lot of tech: iphones, ipads, lots of MacBooks (yet no PC’s) even icloud which doesn’t really exist yet.

Many bring photos, some music. There are many favorite books: Heart of Darkness, Emma, Middlemarch, Les Fleurs du Mal, The Alchemist, The Prophet, Harry Potter, The Bible.

James Oliver Lamont Fox, 40, Somerville, MA

There are many items with little practical use but grand sentimental value: Fufu the stuffed rabbit, a pink buddha figurine, a plastic fork, used tickets. There are many gifts received from loved ones, lucky scarves and shades, moleskins and lots and lots of cameras. Hair Straighteners. Wallets. Dogs and cats and parrots, as well as babies (although I think that might break the nonexistent rules).

No rules and submissions are open, requiring only a photo and basic information (name, age, location, occupation, website).

I was told of this site ages ago, and forgot about it, perhaps with subconscious intention. I’ve thought of choosing what is important to me, the things that seem to, as time passes, become distilled into just a few objects placed on a shelf, tucked away in a box. I planned on submitting, not so much to make public my choices but to actually make them. Perhaps by identifying the things that are important to me, I might somehow open myself up to losing them, to expose somehow my Achilles heel or the frivolity of secret objects. But then again, as I look around, there are very very few objects which hold the intensity for me that they once did, and none of which I could not live without.

And anyway, I would toss them all into the sea for another day like today.

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4 thoughts on “i would toss them all into the sea

  1. Come on, you have to choose something 🙂 !

    Well, I’d take my laptop, a sketchpad with pencils, a pedicure set and toilet paper. I don’t know how anybody could miss something so very, very important as toilet paper.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful day. It’s hard for me to think what to take even when I leave the house for the day let alone forever – which notebooks, which books, which pens…. The Kindle and the laptop were made for people like me – they condense so many important things – a whole library, years of family photos, all my manuscripts into two compact devices. But if the house were burning, I’d wake the family, grab the dogs, and get out.

  3. I actually do know people who had to flee a burning house in the days pre digitization, pre icloud, pre offsite backups and redundancies and emergency plans… and what they missed the most were the photos, the physical proof and memory of those they loved (and, in many cases, had lost).

    So this is kind of a reminder to find safe places for the things that have meaning to you so that, god forbid, if there’s a fire you can just grab the people (and animals) you care about and run like hell.

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