define treasure

A few weeks ago I got an email from Allyson Latta, asking if I’d be interested in participating in her Seven Treasures series, which, she explained would amount to simply listing a few items that, for whatever reason, I couldn’t part with.

I was delighted with the idea of course, honoured to be asked.

At first what came to mind were the obvious things when one hears the word treasures—i.e. pirate loot and pots of gold.

But given that I live in a world of stones collected from the beach, feathers that appear magically at my feet, and a few pieces of art… there’s not a lot of lootish takings to list. And anyway, things that can be bought are never the real treasures, the value attached being purely arbitrary, an abstract created by some vague entity. Not to say that a treasure can’t have monetary value, but I think that quality is incidental, secondary at best.

So next my thoughts went to treasures so valuable they don’t need mentioning—the people and animal ones.

But they don’t need mentioning. (Have I mentioned that?)

Which brought me to the most interesting list of all: treasures I didn’t know were important to me until someone asked.

I was surprised by what surfaced. (The bowl I ate popcorn from as a kid? Are you kidding me? This is what I’m attached to??) But no, of course not the bowl, but what the bowl represents, what I think about every time I see it in my own cupboard and remember its position on the second shelf above the flour and sugar tins, in my mother’s. I remember where I ate that badly burned popcorn, made in a beat-up aluminium pot (used only by me for, um, badly burned popcorn)… what I watched on TV, the pages I turned with buttery fingers; I remember the coolness of the basement, the sound of my dad’s lawnmower through the window, my mother sewing in another room. I can’t remember the bowl being used for much else. Maybe it was, but it felt like mine. How privileged I feel now to have been given this ‘space’ of my own—space the size of a bowl—yet large enough to hold the sound of my mother’s sewing machine.  No one, including me, could have guessed what a gift it was.

It’s always this stuff that matter most, things that connect us to ourselves in ways we hardly know, and that might otherwise be lost.

So this is what the lovely Allyson has so beautifully and thoughtfully presented on her blog.

My seven were first up.

And I see that Rebecca Rosenblum’s seven have just been posted. (Oh that spider plant! Of course. How could she ever get rid of it? It’s like a tiny striped pet!)

Lovely idea, this. And such fun. Both the writing and the reading. And a great question to ask yourself or family and friends. I sent an email to a few friends recently and was amazed with what they wrote back.

Happy excavating!

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2 thoughts on “define treasure

  1. I love the way you describe that popcorn bowl, in such a way that we see it as a treasure too. Thank you for so bravely being my first contributor, and for digging below the surface to find and describe your special keepsakes and the memories attached to them — especially those that may have surprised even you. That’s exactly what I’d hoped people would do in writing these guest posts, and the results so far have been a delight to read.

    More to come!

    I couldn’t be more pleased that you’ve taken the idea and shared it among your friends. What a beautiful thing. I’m sure there have been some remarkable responses. You should consider posting a selection of them on your blog. I’d like to read them and I’m sure others would too.

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