The Clearing

GrammarI’m sitting by my bookshelf clearing out things I’ll never read again as part of yet another purge of my apartment.  I have a Pulkina in my hand– a Russian practical grammar book. I haven’t so much as thought about this book in 18 years.  Dust particles are tickling my nose as I crack the spine. Even when the fleeting desire to pick the language up again has come upon me, this book did not once enter into the equation.

There’s no romantic attachment to this book. Russian grammar frequently made me cranky. I know I had a semi-private tutoring session when I was using it, but I can’t even recall the tutor’s name now– only that I was in Boston at the time.

How is it then that I’m reluctant to add this to the growing pile of discards? Of course, it might be out of print. I’m not sure why this matters if I’m quite clearly not going to use it again. But for some reason getting rid of this tiny, long-forgotten part of my world feels wrong. What is it that compels us to keep things like this in our lives?

Up to this point, I’ve been fairly unsentimental about the clearing of this apartment.  I had an “everything must go” (or nearly so) attitude in play. But I have noticed that every once in a while my hand grazes an object whose time has not yet come (apparently).

Perhaps in another five years (or whenever the next apartment purge comes), I will not think twice.  My brain will not skip like a scratched record at the thought of donating it.  But for the moment, this dusty tome is still here trying to tell me something– something I can’t quite hear.

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