“You don’t travel light, do you?”

More than one person has pointed that out to me. It’s true. When I stay overnight at a friend’s house, for example (as I often do when the winter weather is bad), I have a suitcase packed with at least three or four dresses — because I like to have choices in the morning — along with several other items, enough clothes for a week, essentially. Then there’s my toiletries/makeup bag, another bag with food items, my laptop, my purse . . . you get the picture.

Even if I am not planning to stay at my friend’s house, I still carry an overnight bag(s) — i.e. above stuff — just in case I have to, because I work 100 kilometres from home and one never knows . . .

My car has become something of a wardrobe, too: I usually have at least three pairs of shoes beneath the back seat — cause you never know when a heel might break on the pair you’re wearing. There’s usually a long sweater lying on the back seat, along with extra winter gloves and a scarf. And because my mail is delivered to a rural community mailbox a few kilometres from my home, my car also tends to get cluttered with circulars, which I toss into the back after separating them from the real mail — i.e. bills (never cheques).

My house is, surprisingly, not so cluttered, though it is becoming more so as a certain girlfriend does the gradual “U-Haul” thing. “I’m not a clutterbug,” she says. “I just like to have a lot of things around me.”

So many things all add up to one word: stuff.

Sigh . . . Sometimes I am amazed at how much stuff we humans need — or feel we need — to carry on our daily lives. And we literally could not survive long without some essential stuff. Such is the price of civilization, I guess. We long ago lost our ability to live as the animals do, free of all baggage — and clothes. We’ve enslaved ourselves to “stuff ” — paying for “stuff,” taking care of “stuff,” storing “stuff” . . .

O, to be as free as a bird . . . even freer. Indeed, transcendentalists look forward to liberation from the material world, when we flit about in our spiritual ‘bodies.’

Or not.

Such is the mystery of death, from this side of the equation, at least.

But one thing is certain: You can’t take it with you, as they say — even if your tomb is stocked up with all manner of earthly provisions and furnishings.

So if there is any victory at all in the dying experience — which is part of living in the material world, yes? — it is the freedom from stuff, and all the responsibilities related to stuff.

A wise poet once wrote “It is no more surprising to live twice than it is to live once.”

True, but I’m not sure I want to go through another lifetime of accumulating stuff.

Then again, there is a lot of neat stuff on Planet Earth . . . like my CD player, which is currently spinning Clannad’s Legend disc . . .

Sigh . . . such thoughts preoccupy me on a Saturday morn . . . far from the madding crowd . . .

Have a great weekend.