The Rural Life Sorta’

by | Jan 30, 2017

I save clippings. Almost always have. I don’t remember my life without some sort of pile, folder, or stacks of Itoya portfolios filled with articles taken from newsprint and periodicals. Too many saved to even take a WAG and write a number. Thousands. MANY THOUSANDS.

There are obits. Profiles about makers. Reports on retail trends. An op-ed piece or two. For a wee bit I was on a Verlyn Klinkenborg tear (no pun intended) and have lots of his essays. There are print ads that speak to me. Sometimes I’ll just rip out a fashion page showing a model. One of my favorites remains a NYT article about Larry Bird and how, while still on top of his game, he was planning his departure. Larry Legend.

At some point in the 1990s I was looking back at the compilation and wondered. I rarely put anything I do under a life microscope. I just go with it. All of it. But I spent a second or twenty looking at the stories in these texts written by others and wanted a soundbite I could use to tell myself why. Why do I do this – save these?

The only answer, not the only first answer to make sense – but the only one that came to me was that the stories were all about life well lived. Some were about people and things no longer here, and others shined a light on those still doing good things. I’m sure (and don’t tell anybody this if you’re reading now) that in all of these texts, the lot of them, I was looking for myself. Not myself in the present. But in the future.