Bins, Bernoulli, and Buxton

The thunderstorm that almost killed me last night—I’d started on a run down the gravel drive and lightning struck somewhere near, the crack of thunder telling me I was being stupid for being out—had given way to evening, the morning dawned cool (I know because I was out there with Tilly) and I figured I could work in the basement before the heat and humidity returned.

I drank my coffee and enjoyed scrambled eggs (laid by our hens, cooked by Erin), then descended into the basement to rearrange the stacks of plastic bins and other items we’re storing down there.

My life is in those bins: a bin for report cards and reading certificates during elementary school, a bin for high school yearbooks and creative writing, another for college term papers and a couple of bins for the magazines and newspapers I edited early in my career, and at least four for the journals and letters and mementoes of our time in the Peace Corps.

As I rearranged the bins, I looked inside in search of something I’d once written about the experience in Vanuatu, and along the way I pulled out these items:

  • A flyer for the Bernoulli Brothers juggling group I was in with my friends Chris and Peter.
  • My college report about the history of barbed wire, invented in DeKalb, Illinois, where I once lived; the deed for the land we bought last month referenced an old barb-wire fence along the southern border, and when we walk the land we see the wire embedded in tree trunks or covered by a century of fallen leaves and branches.
  • An index card with a note from Grandpa Sisco, sent to us in Vanuatu; taped to the card were two two-dollar bills—the gathering of men signing the Declaration of Independence glaring in its whiteness; the note with a suggestion from Grandpa to “have a cup of coffee and a roll when you’re in town” (Erin and I usually went to the Rossi for a pot of Earl Grey tea and croissant with scrambled eggs).
  • More chronicles from Frank the Beachcomber about my grandparents’ trips to the Outer Banks, these recounting the fishing in Buxton, Ocracoke, and under the bridge of the Oregon Inlet.
  • Postcards for The Long Table, a project that we hope to restart with tables made from the blackjack oak.

There are more bins and boxes to arrange down there, and more of the past to remember. The basement was getting hotter, so I finished up, put my running shoes on, confirmed there were no storms in the area, and went for a jog.



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