Thursday, August 14, 2014

Worthless Treasures

An excited group of "Little Miss Parade of the Hills"contestants departed Robbins Crossing yesterday, clutching a sprig of Lemon Balm and a cotton ball-sized piece of wool that I distributed to each of them.  It never ceases to amaze me how these simple objects can take on such importance, if they carry a meaning beyond their monetary value.  As we wondered the village, the girls peppered me with questions about life in the 1800s, and provided thoughtful answers to my probing questions.
 Hopefully, the experience gave them a glimpse into a different time, and an appreciation of the resourcefulness shared by most humans, even if we choose to never use it.  Perhaps that meaning was infused into their "treasures" from Robbins Crossing.

Do you have something of little monetary value that carries meaning?  Sure, there are photos, and now we have tweets and posts that offer fleeting thoughts, but sometimes the meanings are hidden and difficult to quantify.  I have a collar from Shasta, a Siberian Husky that was my nearly constant companion for 13 years.  It even smells like her (a little), and I don't think there will ever come a time when I will willingly discard it.  It isn't magical, nor do I believe that it carries any supernatural "spirit".  It just makes me both happy and sad, and that is enough. My guitar case is covered in stickers that reflect places, times, and sentiments that are meaningful to me, and my bulletin board is awash in pins from over the years.

As Interpreters, we have a unique opportunity to provide meanings to common items, and to infuse the simplest places and objects with memories and intangible qualities.  There are parents who wander into Robbins Crossing with their children, and tell me that they still have the beeswax candle they made here when THEY were in school. I know friends who carry special stones, or have saved a feather, or a buckeye, or any number of "worthless" items that carry inestimable value.  They are a connection to a place, a story, or a time that lingers on.

Can you find something to give away that doesn't cost anything, yet is priceless?

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