Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I admit it - I'm a collector.

From a young age, I enjoyed finding and collecting treasures. I suppose the reason behind it is twofold. There's sentiment, of course. I'm the kind of person who remembers the circumstances of every purchase. Consequently, there's a memory attached to every item I own.

The other part is a feeling of permanence. For some reason, collections symbolize to me that a person is serious about their life and location. Collecting symbolizes roots, somehow. I always worried about my friends who didn't collect things. They could be in and out of their homes within hours, while moving would take me weeks. They had no commitment to their places, and that bothered me.

It started in my childhood with elephants. I'd save up my small allowance and buy them at garage sales and thrift stores. I rarely got brand new ones. By the time I moved up to NY in 2001, I had over 1,000.

I ended up getting rid of a bunch of them for the move. Of the ones I kept, probably half were damaged or destroyed in shipping. Over the years I've paired them down more and more, but the ones I still have are among my prize possessions.

I've learned control and reality from collecting. There's always that initial urge to buy *every single one* of something - even if it's the same design in a different color. "Oh, but I don't have a *blue* one!!!" I've learned to be more picky. To chose carefully, and to factor in reasoning and logic. What do I have room for? What is this item made out of? Is it really that different than what I already have? Do I love it more than something I already own? What am I willing to get rid of in order to have this?

I've also learned to collect things that reflect myself and my life. I've blogged before about my salt and pepper shaker collection, and the meaning behind it (check that out here). That post got me to thinking about the other things I collect, and the reasons why.

One of the things I collect now is Asian art. I think the reason behind this is that, growing up, my father hated anything that he didn't deem "American." Anything Asian fell under the category of stuff I wasn't allowed to have. Despite that fact, I desperately loved Asian art. I found the details and colors amazing. So now, I have a small collection. It's mostly pottery and things like that. I did have some wall art at one time, but most of that had to be paired down once we bought our house - there just wasn't room.

Another thing I collect is antique bottles, and there's no more meaning behind that than wanting to show my kids that life didn't always come in plastic.

I collect monks. I honestly have no idea why. Maybe because I've always been fascinated by their lifestyle and devotion to their religion?

I collect mice, simply because they're cute and misunderstood most of the time. I find a lot of beauty in the things most people shun.


I also collect animal bones. Yes, animal bones. I've found most of them on my mother-in-law's property. She lives out in the country and all sorts of little animals have ended up in my collection - mice, deer, kittens. Yes, kittens. Her barn cat has kittens every year, but unfortunately there are coyotes to contend with, and every now and then a kitten doesn't make it. I think, for me, the reasoning is that I will respect and honor their remains. As many of you know, I work for a veterinary clinic. Nothing makes me angrier than when an owner opts for group cremation for their "beloved" pet. The thought of animals being lumped together in a pile and burned together, with no respect for who they were, just kills me. So, I bring home the bones I find, bleach them, and put them on display in my house. This picture just shows a small portion. I have a whole cauldron full of deer bones I collected over several years. I haven't found the right spot for the cauldron yet, so it's in a bag in my basement. But every time I go down there, I walk over to it and pat the bag, and whisper hello to the bones, so they know they're not forgotten.

::shrugs:: Maybe I'm just a complete nut case. :-)

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