32 Comments
Sep 12, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Years ago a wildfire swept across our property while my husband was at work and I was in town with our children doing chores. We could not return to our house because fire crews had closed the road due to the active fire, and for two days we believed our home had burned along with all of our possessions. I was terrified to think of all we had lost. But suddenly I felt incredibly light and it dawned on me that I had been set free of all those stupid possessions that cluttered up my life. Here I was with only my children and husband, and dear friends who took us in! Then the news came -- our home had miraculously survived the fire. Strangely, it felt like a real let-down. When we were finally able to return to our home, I spent days getting rid of everything extraneous. It felt so good and so freeing.

These days I'm burdened again by life and possessions. Reading this, Chris, I realize it's time time for another (metaphorical) wildfire. Thanks.

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I like that, "metaphorical" wildfire. I need one too. I read a piece by Pico Iyer once where he talks about the family home burning while he was on a plane crossing the Atlantic, landing at the end and learning that everything he owned amounted to what he was carrying at the time. It's a powerful image.

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founding

I'm not sure if this is it, but it does talk about the fire and damn it's beautiful: https://granta.com/out-of-the-cell/

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This is such a great piece. I wonder why I remembered it as him landing from a plane flight and learning of the fire? Memory — or its failing as seems to be my case lately — is stupid.

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We all mix stuff up all the time! Our memories just have their own organizational structure I guess?

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founding

Oh, dear, I just repeated you! I think he had a toothbrush or something?

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Pico Iyer has a beautiful old essay about losing all his possessions (including his almost finished book) when a wildfire burned his parents' house down. Not something I'd want to go through but I totally get you on the metaphorical wildfire.

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Sep 12, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I totally understand your feeling of relief in that moment when it occurred to you that you maybe had lost all of your material objects. I believe material objects own us rather than the other way around. It always feels good to purge, and I can always tell when it's time to do so again once I feel anxious in my surroundings from the burden of organizing, cleaning, placing, etc., all of my shit. And I don't even have that much shit. Anyway... I identify with your feelings on this, Marirose. Cheers!

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A timely affirmation from Mary Oliver. Just finished sorting through and letting go of many of the remaining belongings in my less than 700 square foot condominium. There are things I have kept since I was in my early 20s. I'll be 72 in October. A heavy burden has been lifted on numerous levels. Thank you for what you write. Looking forward to reading your books.

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Thank you. I like hearing things like this. I carry too much stuff too because I'm overly sentimental. Which isn't a bad thing, the sentimentality ... but the stuff can be, heh.

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Reminded me of this passage in Of Human Bondage - Maughan "I sought on the contrary plainness and simplicity. With so much that I wanted to say within reasonable limits I felt that I could not afford to waste words and I set out now with the notion of using only such as were necessary to make my meaning clear. I had no space for ornament."

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Maugham ;-)

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That is about perfect. Thank you.

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Sep 12, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

budbill wrote plain and simple--yes. but when in nyc he performed w/the free-jazz improv crowd. something's under all that zen. it's wm parker's bass. that combination is a sweet mystery to me.

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I've never listened to his musical projects or read his plays. One day I might!

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Absolutely lovely, fellow Chris!

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That always cracks me up.

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It's funny to me because the amount of people who actually call me "Chris" is pretty limited.

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I need to be like Mary Oliver and dump all the " stuff" I have and don't need or use.

It will be a very freeing moment.

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I will love to too. I think it WILL be a freeing moment.

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

A wonderful writing and reading adventure with both Dogen and Mary Oliver. Was most needed, I seemed to have misplaced August.

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It's never been more apparent just how unreliable this time construct is, has it?

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Love this. Thank you, Chris. And happy birthday to my favorite poet.

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Thank you, Emily. She's my favorite too.

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I love your weekly missives.

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Thank you, Sheeby.

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

🙏

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

I look forward to reading your submissions. Does it feel so familiar because we have the same heritage and grew up so similarly?

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Thank you, Julie. Maybe it's just that brilliant minds think alike? Heh....

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

Make a beautiful

fire!

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Sep 10, 2021Liked by Chris La Tray

These lines really leapt out - resonated with the vibe of your piece, a sense of getting rid of what no longer serves so as to clear the path for gratitude, clear-seeing unencumbered. Thanks as always for this renewed invitation to presence.

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Thank you, Clare. Mary always knows just what to say.

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