Saturday, August 30, 2014


What is the purpose of a box? Physically boxes provide space for things to be either transported or stored, or both. They are organisational devices. If they are strong they are effective, but even if they are weak, depending on the purpose for which they are used, they can still efficiently do the job for which they have been assigned. Boxes are made of different materials: cardboard, plastic, wood or metal, and they come in different shapes and sizes. Some have handles, and some do not. Some have lids, and some do not. Some boxes keep secrets. Other boxes reveal them. Some boxes contain treasures: things of either real or sentimental value, or both. Some boxes contain trash, while others hold a mixture of the worthy and the worthless.

Although I have a place to stay, I don't feel like I have a home at the moment. Much of my stuff is not with me, or is with me in boxes. Some of the boxes are full of things which I don't want any more. It should come as no surprise to anyone how easily one accumulates crap. It should come as no surprise to me, and yet I marvel at the things I have held on to, and the length of time which they have been in my possession. I wonder too, about the reason behind the keeping. Some things I know why, others I don't, but of the former, there are things which now seem so unimportant.

Moving away from the obvious: a house is a box, and so is a car. The human body is a box, and the mind is housed in what we colloquially refer to as the brain box, which is a huge closet with an alarming number of boxes in it. Many of these boxes are locked, or so we think, and we do not want to open them. We put people and experiences in these boxes because sometimes we just don't know what else to do with them.

Life becomes very messy when we open up too many boxes at once. Think of the temporary chaos which results from moving house. That horrendous sense of disorder invades our thoughts when we are under stress. Feeling emotional or physical pain causes, as Lucas called it, "a disturbance in the force." To deal with this disturbance we often start opening up boxes to find a cure.
The search for solutions may become frantic, and instead of being an orderly and peaceful process towards resolving a problem, it becomes a violent ransacking.

Does anyone understand what I am saying? Is there anybody listening? Can anybody hear me? Is anybody out there? It's time for a stock take.

Photograph sources:


  1. I used a similar moving analogy to show my character's chaotic psyche in a short story I have coming out later this year. Of course, it's in a mystery anthology, and no one will get the symbolism, but that's okay.

    We humans are always ripping open boxes, searching for answers whether opening our mind through the use of drugs or through belief systems and philosophies. There's a reason we do this. We can't find solutions if we don't search.

    As someone who's moved to all four corners of the US in the last ten years—always by necessity—I've constantly lived out of boxes. The most recent lesson learned after moving from a 371 m² to a 46 m² home? Get rid of the boxes filled with stuff that doesn't matter. Life is easier to wrangle the fewer the boxes. Letting go is tough, but it's like ripping off a bandage. It hurts only for a moment.

    VR Barkowski

  2. Beautifully said VR. Nice to hear from you again. It's been a while.

  3. I would love to clear at least 50% of my belongings but it just seems like too much hard work and too much emotion to do it on my own. I guess one day I will leave this particular space one way or another. To throw out or to keep? That will be the question on that day.

    1. 50% is a good target Cheryle, but if you don't have to do it, why bother? Not many people cull their possessions for fun.

  4. Have you ever thought about how much we actually bury, ( or cremate) when someone dies? All that is in that person's "brain-box " goes with them. We study, we form ideas, we learn, we read books etc., and it all goes with us when we die. It makes one ponder, ( as one is wont to do) is it all for naught?

    1. Is it all for naught? Good question Delia. Well worth pondering, and I had not considered the loss of the contents of a person's brain box after they die. As a believer in the afterlife, I wonder now, how much of what we know when we die, actually comes with us into eternity.