Treasure: pirate’s booty, artifacts from an ancient tomb, shiny objects stashed in your nest, things you collect and wrap carefully.
I do not think of myself as a materialistic person because I don’t like shopping and buying, but I do have a collection of stuff that I have found or been given. These semi-precious items are housed in special places like shelves, curio cabinets, and glass-fronted cupboards in my home. It’s rather like a museum, which is perfectly appropriate to my interests and personality. (I work at 2 museums.) When I think of my collecting behavior, it probably started with rocks and “glassies” (beach glass) as a kid. As an adult, I collected eggs…a symbol of the Trinity, of life, and nature to me. Now, most of my egg collection is in storage, and I have begun accumulating elephants (mostly from Steve’s Aunt Rosie, who, having a habit as a flea market addict and having identified my taste, seems to present me with additions every time I see her!). Elephants are a symbol of matriarchal wisdom and compassion to me. My first beloved stuffed animal was Babar. I treasure the idea of elephants in the wild and feel great pain at their destruction. I would like to see some in their natural habitat some day.
But there is something that I collect and value even more, I think. I keep them close to me in places where I see them every day: on my computer screen, on my phone screen, on my living room shelves and in great boxes under my bed. They are photographs of my family. I’m guessing this is something that most people on the planet treasure…maybe hidden in a chest, tucked into a scrap of cloth, hanging on a chipping plaster wall or stashed in a suitcase in less technologically developed cultures. In fact, in our “museum inventory”, we have quite a few photographs of complete strangers, gleaned from estates sales – black and white faces in various poses, symbols of human connection. One day I’d like to give them new life in some art form so they might be treasured once again.