On Spring Cleaning, Fly Fishing and Hard Feelings

My idea of spring cleaning consists of blowing the dust off the stuff on the high shelf just enough to release the cobwebs that are anchored there.  When a quick puff didn’t take care of things, I reached up to pull this jar down.  It’s been on my bathroom shelf since we moved to this home.

I wiped off six years of dust and handed the jar to Jenny.  As she took the rocks out, one by one, she commented on their smoothness and wondered where I’d found them.

“Your dad and I used to fly fish before Will was born.  I was always on the lookout for rocks when I wasn’t casting the line.”

“How come you hardly ever fish anymore?”

“Well, things change when you have babies.  Someone needs to tend to the baby and that leaves the other person free to fish.  I was tending to babies, your dad did the fishing.  I guess I got wrapped up with kids and forgot I liked to fish.”


As she handed me each rock, I saw how the rocks represented feelings from my married life – feelings that started out good, turned hard and got buried under more hard feelings.  For a long time, those feelings bumped around inside my head like so many river rocks.


“Mom, look at the colors in this one.”

She handed me a piece of glass.  The edges had been tumbled smooth.  The faint hint of green showed buffed scratches.

“This one has layers.  Look at this one with the white lines running through.  How come you never showed me these before?”

“I don’t know, honey.  I guess I don’t think about them anymore.  They’re just rocks in a pretty glass jar.  I didn’t think it was important.”

She handed me the jar and said, “Let’s put ’em back up on the shelf.  Here’s the lid.  Better twist the lid on tight so the rocks don’t fall out.”

“That’s a good idea.  Wouldn’t want any of those rocks to fall out.”


“What else should we clean?  Do you want me to dust?  I’m good at that.”

“We’re done here.  Let’s head down to the river and throw a line in.”


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  1. Hmmm… my instinct wants to twist the lid tight also, but I wonder if letting the air in would dilute the memories. I left my jar of sea glass behind… :)

  2. Z,

    When I first wrote the post, I included something about taking the rocks to the river and dramatically lobbing them out into the middle as a metaphor for purging all those feelings. That’s where I was two years ago.

    Now I realize those rocks/feelings don’t have any control over me anymore, so I edited that out. Now they are just feelings. I mean rocks.

    But I tightened the lid… just in case.

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