Monday, June 10, 2013

lessons from gypsy life: letting go

Photo by Konnie, aka Little Sis 
So little sis and I did make it paddle boarding this weekend after all. Nice weather for it too. It was so nice, we went twice.

Sunday I used a different board. One that is also a kayak. We attached the seat, and I set out for what I hoped would be a more leisurely ride on the river.

Wearing my swimsuit and knowing I’d get wet, I took my tank top off and placed it between my back and the seat, where I assumed it’d be safe.  It was a nice ride with a little background music from the nearby amphitheater. Although I did learn that without upper body muscles, it doesn’t matter if you’re standup paddle boarding or sit down paddling, rowing is hard work no matter what. 

As we came back to our launch site, I concentrated on not running into the two Bernese Mountain dogs and their owner who were blocking the river’s edge. I put my flip flops back on, and attempted to avoid a majority of the goose droppings fertilizing the muddy bank, as I hauled the heavy board out of the water. I packed the board all the way up to the car by myself, even declining the help offered by a kind stranger so I could do it myself.

And then I looked down and realized I wasn’t wearing my tank top. And it wasn’t on the board anymore, of course. I walked down to the bank. Nope. Not there either.

You guys! I lost my shirt in the Deschutes River. It’s not every day you can say you lost your shirt and mean it literally. And I don’t even know when it happened. My sis didn’t see it drop off the board either.

That blue tank top has been on regular rotation for a number of years now.  It wasn’t new. But it was one of my favorites for summer wear and winter layers. Thankfully, and this is where gypsy life comes in, I’m not too bothered by the loss of the soft blue cotton.
Making strawberry jam & wearing my blue tank in '09
Over the last six weeks of gypsy life, I have realized how few of the clothes I carefully packed into organized duffle bags I wear. Maybe one-third of what I own is worn on any regular basis. It’s a troubling reality for someone trying to keep her belongings to a minimum so she can haul them across town or pack them in her car at a moment’s notice. Especially when she thought she had done plenty of letting go and purging of unnecessary stuff. 

I walked away from the river with mixed feelings. I loved that tank. But losing it to a watery grave at the bottom of the Deschutes means there is one less article of clothing I need to pack up the next time I move. And my grip on material stuff just got a little bit looser.   


  1. I am trying to learn from you through this journey. I have a house full of things I don't use and I don't need but everytime I make some headway in letting go I seem to fill the spaces with something else. I envy you this freedom! I am so glad you are posting again.

    1. Believe me, it's not easy for me either. After the loss of the tank top, my first thought was, "And I just saw tanks on sale this afternoon." But to replace the lost tank would not help with the paring down, because the reality is, I don't NEED one more shirt. I have plenty of other tanks I don't wear. I can do without.