Dr. E’s Greening
Car boot sales, recycling, spring, and decorated eggs.
It was minus zero on the first day of spring, in my town. I think my Civil Lit professor was right when he said spring was just a euphemism for another Midwest winter. I have looked for robins, seen one or two. There are green moss and some lichens trying to grow their way to sring, and I think the vernal equinox is assed. Snowdrops are out, but the forsythia and pussy willows are nowhere. I dreamed last night of acres of bittersweet, bursting orange and sunshine along our hillside, but it was not to be, and I’m a season or two ahead of myself.
I began to straighten and spring clean, but got fantastically sick with asthma and a bad sinus situation, which I call Sylvia Plath disease, since she and I both have suffered so terribly from sinusitis. I really think that’s what ultimately wore her down and lead to her destruction. I’m too tired to do much of anything, but write, and read. Not a bad life, but the house is a mess. I also can’t breathe. That gets old. There is still a gold mesh mechanical reindeer on our front deck; he is fastened down, and not easily moved. I’m going to hang and Easter garland around his neck.
Easter itself is named for a Teutonic goddess of spring. There isn’t much Christian about her, but there are many fertility symbols and rites that are her legacy, including Easter eggs, lambs, and rabbits. Some of these, of course, do have religious significance in many churches. I rallied enough to get to the Eier Markt at a local museum, and found Czech eggs, gingerbread done in the traditional style, jewelry made of recycled computer components, which I find every exciting, traditional German pretzels, and other fun decorated egg sculpture. My mom and I are legendary for our Easter trees made of white branches, first done in Kindergarten. I’ve painted and decorated eggs for many years. Time and work don’t permit me to take them all out, but I set around modest displays, and take some to my shelves at work to display. The other day, I saw my second grade lamb, white with black face and vinyl snout, on a 1966 Dream of Jeannie episode.
I listened this morning to My Word! This is a British radio show, usually witty and very funny, on our local public radio station. Today, the subject was car boot sales, the British version of a flea market, where different vendors set goods out in a parking lot of other open space and see things out of their trunks, or car boot. The narrator was talking about the “lust” of buying gardening supplies for his wife, and at a bargain rate, too. This is how we feel about our yard sale Saturdays, and I think back to The Scavenger’s Manifesto, which discusses that universal love of bargains. This is recycling at its best, as far as I’m concerned, and it is a way to bring new life to objects.
Visiting these sales is a way of reading those who sell; when they are cleaning out their own closets, the objects they sell tell the biographies of who the sellers are. And, I have to think of Barbara Pym, who, in commenting on Proust’s possessions so carefully reserved in his home museum that, anyone woman’s things would be just as interesting. It is in common folk that history is told, that stories are made. Each display in a yard sale or “car boot” sale is the story of someone’s life. There is a lot of food for thought, and novels, right there.