I have this book. I call it the Dust Jacket. It is a beautiful elaborate cover around pages upon pages of what used to be blank paper. Now it is mostly full of plane, train, and bus tickets, photographs, quotes, doodles, pressed flora, lists of things, including a Dust List. It's the same as a Bucket List or a To Do Before I Die list - it's just an extensive number of things I wanted to do before I turn to dust. Most people have one.
The Dust Jacket
I have tried a lot of things in my short 27 years on this earth; from drugs to sky diving, jump rope championships to eating guinea pig, licking frozen metal to hanging out with Condors. Yet my Dust List has a multitude of things left unchecked. Things like publish a book, bungee jump, visit Tibet are all technically within my grasp - but I am also not the same person as the girl who wrote the list in my Dust Jacket. I left space to add items, but never really did. I have gone through and crossed out accomplished tasks over the years, taking the number down from 193 to something closer to 65.
Four leaf clovers, train tickets, restaurant matchboxes, and the first page of a Dust List
So I've been thinking about what I would add. What do I want to do before I return to dust? What are my greatest ambitions? How is my list different now that I am older? Married? A mother? Should I cross out my original list? Should I make a new list and fold it up and place it between the pages? Should I honor my younger self and leave those things she wanted to do on the list just in case I do them? Or even more, should I try to do them anyway, even if they aren't all that important to me anymore, just because she wanted to?
Fold out map of the world. For emergencies, obviously.
But as Mark and I continue to evaluate our life and I reopen my Dust Jacket. I find myself much less interested in my Dust List and more interested in the pages of poetry I scribbled down when I was young and reckless and full of passion and hope. It isn't about the doing of the things, it is about the feeling of the things. I was inspired enough to write a Dust List, which made it important. Now I am tired and searching for that same flame. Or maybe a different one? I don't really know. I'm too lost in the supposed order of operations to figure it out.
Poems and quotes and all the written words.
The Dust Jacket feels good in my hands, like holding an old friend. Flipping through the pages like I am revisiting memories over coffee or beer. Touching the photographs as if it might help me send love to the people inside them. I thought pulling it off the shelf might be sad, but it is more a rekindling of hope. The girl who wrote in this book was full of hope and this book has held it well. So well that it pours out when you crack it open. It flows from your finger tips up into your arms and chest and all throughout your body. Warm and peaceful.
Ancient postcards of beloved places.
So I turn the pages looking for inspiration as to what might be next for us. Finding comfort and anticipation with each line I read or photograph I see. Every four leaf clover and pressed leaf is a gift from another time to help me through this one. I am beginning to think I might make a new one. Allowing new blank pages to speak to me and fill up as these ones have. The ability to breath life into a new stage of my life in a physical journal as well as through my story.
Lovely things pressed in time.
And maybe I will make a new Dust List.
You never know.
149 Days to June