Monday, April 24, 2006

I Will Not Take These Things for Granted...

Not only is it the title of this post, but a great song by Toad the Wet Sprocket, whom I will be seeing in concert in June, thanks to my friend Scott...
Topic: While I was spending a wonderful, relaxing weekend in Tennessee with my friend Tamie, and her friends Brian and Johnny, the sentence came up: If your house was on fire, and you only had time to grab five things, what would those five things be?

And I paused. My mind started racing. What would they be? I know I would want Richard and our dog, Hawthorne, to get out safely, but after further discussion, loved ones (and loved creatures!) count as only one. Sure, like a fireman would be standing there saying, "Okay, run back in and grab four more! No! The roof won't collapse yet, now go!"

I am a knick-knack-o-holic. I have stuff everywhere. Candle holders, trinkets, baskets, books, decorative statutes, vases, mirrors, figurines... you name it, I have four of it, and probably two more on the attic. I also have many cherished childhood toys, collectibles, as well as the bulk of the family's history of pictures dating back at least a century and a half.

Would I run for these things? What would I think of first? I have a picture of two people hanging onto a cross/island in a storm-tossed sea that hung over my grandparents wood stove for as long as I could remember, which now hangs over my coal stove... I have three large plastic cases of ancient family pictures... I have over 60 cardboard boxes of books in my attic... My grandfather's model train he built by hand... the clay statue of a dog my dad made in college... Three afghans hand-made by my mother, as well as two made by my evil grandmother... Photo albums which chronicle mine and my brothers' and sisters' growing-up years...

All of it is really just stuff. Material things. Objects with no lasting life whatsoever. My memories of my grandfather would not disappear into nothingness if his model train were to be destroyed. The love of my mother (and the twisted sense of love my grandmother has) would not dissipate should their hand-made gifts be ravaged by fire. If the photos were to disintegrate, my brothers, sisters, and ancestors would still be mine. The clay statute? My father would love me no less...

Would I stand before the burning house and mourn the loss of these items? Of course. But would it be the end of all that I love and cherish? No. Material things are nice, but none of it could ever make up for memories, those ephemeral possessions of the brain that cannot be bought and sold. Memories bring back emotions good and bad, feelings of love, happiness, sadness, anger...

So what would I run back into my burning house for? I think as long as I knew Richard and Hawthorne were safe and sound, in my arms as we stared at the glowing structure, I would be content. I would be sad, but neither would I want to jeopardize my life with those two for a trinket. Trinkets and photos may not be able to be replaced down the road, but neither will they share a laugh with me, hold my hand, or even comfort me as the house burns to the ground...

I Will Not Take These Things for Granted

One part of me just wants to tell you everything
One part just needs the quiet
And if I'm lonely here, I'm lonely here
And on the telephone
You offer reassurance

I will not take these things for granted

How can I hold the part of me that only you can carry
It needs a strength I haven't found
But if it's frightening, I'll bear the cold
And on the telephone
You offer warm asylum

I'm listening
Flowers in the garden
Laughter in the hall
Children in the park
I will not take these things for granted
Anymore

To crawl inside the wire and feel something near me
To feel this accepting
That it is lonely here, but not alone
And on the telephone
You offer visions dancing

I'm listening
Music in the bedroom
Laughter in the hall
Dive into the ocean
Singing by the fire
Running through the forest
And standing in the wind
In rolling canyons

I will not take these things for granted

Copyright (c) 1991 wet sprocket songs (ascap)

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Toad the Wet What? Who? :) Just kidding. Doesn't sound as exciting as when you say you bought Train tickets...and you're not traveling anywhere.

Your post was very sweet. I know what you mean, although I guess what kind of fire it was. If it was just little contained fire and you could dash in and out, who knows?

When I was little the house next door to ours caught on fire...I "saved" my gerbil Spunky and my mom saved her mink coat. My dad ran next door and was credited with saving the whole house by disconnecting the main power. So, I guess it depends on your frame of mind.