I was attempting to clean out a bookshelf in our office recently and was struck by a feeling similar to what I suppose grips those poor bastards on Hoarders: the realization that everything has meaning.

From a notebook in which I scribbled notes while interviewing our non-denominational wedding officiant:

Formal greeting . . . statement about marriage . . . homily on love
what love is not (possession, not to change, not to make a responsibility)
Virtues of the heart, courage to recognize, vulnerability. never take each other for granted
courtesy to listen

From a pile of paperbacks:

Hiking Zion & Bryce Canyon
Hiking the Grand Staircase-Escalante & the Glen Canyon Region
The Rough Guide to Thailand
Oregon’s Cascade Lakes
Hiking the North Cascades
Snowshoe Routes in Washington
Traveling with Your Pet: the AAA Guide
Taking Charge of Your Fertility
20,0001 Names for Baby
Nature Walks In & Around Seattle

Like a portrait of our marriage, in broad strokes. (Note how adventurous exotic travel and hiking dwindles to “nature walks.”) Man, I can’t get rid of that stuff. Even though the books are dusty and they smell and the only charge I want to take of my fertility is to smash it into submission until menopause.

Now, if I start talking about the sentimental value of giant piles of cat feces and 54 broken vacuums and a ceiling-high stack of newspapers, send help.


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