in the Sand
I was four years old the first time I remember finding treasure.
The place was Happy Acres Nursery School and Kindergarten and
I was on the playground. I had just eased down from the chain
swing onto the sandy grass and was bending over to brush the particles
off my anklet socks, when I spied a small flash of color. I quickly
knelt down and scooped a tiny, bright red bead from its hiding
place. What a magnificent discovery!
I smoothed out the sand around my feet, and, wondrously, exposed
more bits of brilliance. Slowly I picked out the beads, carefully
putting them into the pocket of my dress, while looking around
to make sure that no one was watching me. I couldn't believe my
luck! Someone had clearly lost a treasure trove, and I was the
one to find it.
There were dozens of dazzling colors - shiny yellows, blues, shimmering
shades of orange and purple and emerald green. It seemed like
I was crouched there for hours, delicately excavating and examining
It was only years later, in retrospect, that I realized that my
treasure trove was most likely the remains of a broken bead necklace.
The owner probably didn't realize that the elastic had snapped
and spilled its contents onto the sand, to be pounded into the
ground by stampeding pre-schoolers.
That moment of rapturous discovery was planted in my imagination
forevermore as the essence of treasure.
What qualifies as "treasure"?
Webster's defines treasure as (1) accumulated wealth, as money
or jewels; (2) any person or thing greatly valued. To me, treasure
is all about the shivers you get when you handle something so
precious that time stops.
Question, though: Is there an expiration date on treasures whose
value is not monetary?
Take my beads discovery at age four. The memory of that moment
is still so real it's as if it happened yesterday. But when I
look at the tired bag of tiny, faded pieces of plastic - the bag
that's moved with me since childhood - I no longer see treasure.
In this case, I'm able to retain the memory without needing to
retain the evidence that it happened. And thank goodness for that
because if I needed proof of every wonderful experience I'd ever
had, I would never have room to take a step!
When you find it necessary to downsize, it can be difficult to
discriminate between life-long treasure and simple memories of
a special time.
Qualities of Treasure
Try the 5 senses test:
1. Does the item look like treasure?
2. Does it feel like treasure?
3. Smell like treasure?
4. Taste like it?
5. Sound like it?
If you don't have a resounding "yes" answer to any
question, then let it go. Memories will serve you better than
reserving space for things that are not appealing to you.
Hold onto "treasure" as long as it makes you smile with
the memory of how good life can be.