I set my timer for an hour.
And then this unintentional hoarder bagged up 60 items in 60 minutes last Sunday.
Some things went straight to the trash bag, the good stuff to the one marked charity.
Most of the items were owned by other family members. My late parents, my late husband, my daughter, my granddaughter.
Every storm in recent years resulted in an urgent move for a family member. As a result, additional possessions quickly poured into my already packed 1300 foot rambler.
So I was feeling proud for the traction I was making until I opened a closet bursting with old photo albums.
I needed to stop to pick up dozens of loose, fading pictures that went twirling down to the floor.
The first one was of my late brother Scott and my husband on a cloudy San Diego beach.
Scott’s waiving at me, as if to grab my attention and directing me on to the photo above.
It’s a shot of my younger self, so full of joy and dancing on the same beach.
Underneath it I discover another picture. This time it’s a stormy beach in Maine.
And I’m wearing that same expression of pure joy.
I soon find joy’s in every ocean photo of me from the foggy beaches of Martha’s Vineyard to rain soaked sand dunes in Italy.
I choose to believe my brother was trying to send me a message. He knew me so well.
Perhaps it’s a reminder that every storm cloud in life carries the promise of even greater joy thereafter.
I’m going to hold on to that thought.
After looking at the beach photos, I switched my focus the rest of the day to decluttering my mind instead of the house
And I decided to book a flight to the ocean for November.
I’m hoping to find more storm clouds and high tides.
As it’s time for me to dance in the rain once again.