As is the custom on weekends; my faithful hound Xena and I go for a long walk in the park. Given the leisurely pace of the day, we always manage to top off our brisk exercise session with a car ride. I enjoy having the chance to cool off and clear my head for the day. Xena, in turn, enjoys nothing more than hanging her head out the open window and letting the wind blow her ears back.
Today was a special day for Xena, in that we came across a small herd of deer in the neighborhood. I slowed the car down to assure none of the does was going to bolt across the street. This gave Xena an opportunity to sniff wildly out the window and take in the majesty of the deer. It did not take long for Xena to begin baying at her wildlife friends. There is never anything aggressive about Xena’s howls and yelps. I am convinced that she is inviting her fellow animal kingdom friends to play with her.
It never fails; the deer take notice of my vociferous canine for a moment. Then they return to their idle grazing in some neighbor’s front yard. Xena settles down, I pull away from the curb, and the deer give Xena one last parting stare. We have repeated the scenario enough times that you would thing dog and deer would both become bored with the script. But it never ceases to amaze me just how much happier Xena is the rest of the day!
As I began to drive back towards the house; my mind drifted back to the collection of deer we had just visited. I tried to envision what life would be like if I had to subsist off scraps left behind by others. What would my day be like if the majority of time was spent grazing? Stopping at a red traffic light, I glanced at one of the buildings on the corner. The sign overhead proudly proclaimed that this was my headquarters for all scrap booking needs! It appeared that the word “scrap” was going to have a major presence in my life this day.
I have always wondered just what the fascination is when it comes to scrap booking. Sitting around on a lazy afternoon, cutting up photos and applying sticker to a blank page of cardstock are not my idea of fun. Just how many pieces of colored construction paper can you turn into cute shapes without losing interest? Still, given the number of stores in town that cater to scrap bookers; there must be something to the pastime, besides giving spinsters something to occupy their time!
Having a need to derive the deeper meaning out of everything that crosses my path in life; I zeroed in on the entire concept of scrap booking. What would possess an otherwise vitality-filled human being to sit at the kitchen table and mindlessly paste doo-dads into a photo album? Then it struck me! I needed to look beyond the mechanics of this odd hobby and delve into the motivation driving the participants.
“What is the purpose of scrap booking?” I asked myself as Xena snored at my feet. Obviously there is a need to preserve memories. The objects that represent the past are then embellished with stickers, glitter, bright papers, and annotations handwritten in the margins. Great care is taken to assure that every page is just perfect. “Is the memory being polished for the sake of the person creating the scrap book, or is it for sharing in the best possible light?” I sighed deeply when it became apparent that the answer to my question was a simple “both!”
I hate to admit it, but scrap booking began to look a little less like a waste of perfectly good time. Perhaps this was a purpose-driven pastime after all. I imagined that the spinsters I had previously mocked in my mind were actually all sitting around a table together. They were sharing their individual memories, weaving a beautiful tapestry that depicts a collective human experience. Along the way, a legacy was being preserved for generations to come.
Decades from now, “How many family members would sit around the room, cherishing the loving handiwork created by their ancestor?” We all have familial relics that are passed down from generation to generation. It might be a bible or a piece of jewelry or a needlepoint sampler; but it becomes a connection to another place and time in the past. These trinkets give us a sense of identity and help us gain a feeling of belonging to something bigger. The bequeathed objects ground us, define us, and make us feel just a little bit less isolated in a world that can be all too cold. Why should a scrap book be excluded from this pedigree of family treasures?
We all fall victim to little episodes in life that transform who we are and how we see the world. As for me, please pass the green lace and the tub of paste. It appears I have a lifetime of memories to preserve and share with the world!