To Save and Save

La Voz de Galicia – August 11, 2023 →

Cristina PatoMaruxa moved the sticks again. I don’t know how she did it, but as soon as they appeared on her property, she decided they had to be put away. The truth is that they are not exactly sticks, but more like a post (probably from the power lines that go through the property) cut in four fairly large, heavy pieces. I suppose that some time over this past year, god-knows-who from what electricity company stopped by there, changed the post, and left the old one on the ground, cut in four. «It’s good wood,» my mother says, «I’m sure that we’ll need it some say,» and that was enough of a reason to move them under a small roof at the back of the house «so that they’ll be protected.»

Sometimes, when she gets in «save absolutely everything» mode, I think about the reasons that drive her to it. I think about people of her generation and her social status, I think about the possible poverty in which they grew up and which they never talk about, and I think about how difficult it is, even for us (the four daughters who grew up in a reality very different from hers), to leave behind the idea of keeping everything for when it’s needed. In some way, we have that in our system and we have inherited the tendency to save and save, even though (in the end) we know that we will probably never need it.

I don’t know what we will do with the sticks my mother moved with god know what huge strength, but what I know is that we can’t get rid of them because it would be harder to deal with her anger than with the four colossal sticks. And every day, when I see them there, leaning on my father’s old vines, taking up half the patio, I think about these sometimes inexplicable things that we humans do to be in the world, and I also think about them, the daughters of survival…

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