It did not start with the fire.
It might have started with the break-ins.
It might have started with those seemingly cute Annie Leonard videos.
It started with the crushing debt. The depression. The high blood pressure. The job I hated. It started with an emptiness stuff could not fill.
It started forty years ago with commercials between Saturday morning cartoons. It started in high school - what they had. What we had. What did not compare well.
Maybe it started with Love Among the Cannibals and that car on the side of the road.
Somewhere in all that, a switch flipped.
But let's get back to the fire. In just a few hours, everything my mother and brothers owned turned into ashes. All gone or completely un-usable. All of it destined for a landfill. They are starting over with different stuff now.
My first electric bicycle was stolen a while back. It was a bargain to start, a deeply discounted close-out bike from a Big Box. I hit a curb too hard and found myself needing a new rear wheel. I ordered one, but a thief fell through a hole in the wall and made off with the bike. I still have the new rear wheel. The bike was noisy, heavy, and fairly slow, but I enjoyed it. I rode it to work and parked it in my office. It freed me from gas pumps and stop lights, and road rage. It was all back streets, alleys, parking lots, short cuts. It was a challenge to better my time, to pedal more, to move, to move more, to move faster, to move faster, to move free-er, quieter, without guilt. And it cost less than three tanks of gas and less than a nickel to charge. It was a freedom that came from a box.
I have been paring down the stuff lately. Each time something leaves, I breathe a little easier. I feel a little lighter.