Expensive Tastes

Digital illustration: The Jeweled WhatsitMy magpie nature challenges me. I don’t see any particular inherent problem with being attracted to shiny objects or distracted by what sparkles and catches my wandering, curious, childlike attention. Most of the time, anyway. But when it comes to how I respond to those attractions and distractions, I think I’m pretty weak-willed. I’m easily enchanted by the handsome and impressive, the glimmering and magical Stuff that catches my eye.

What is complicated is not that I like such things, nor even that I waste many a waking hour on admiring them. It’s when I covet them. When I spend resources more precious than my pining glances on them. When I fill up space in my home, my bank account, or my heart with them that would be far better spent on more substantial things. Love. Sharing. Living.

I hope that recognizing the flimsy character of such tinfoil treasures as most Things are is at least a healthy step toward not letting myself be led too far astray by them. But there is always danger in admiring any sort of tempting prettiness. My inventory of belongings is proof enough, especially when I go about tidying the house and come to the end of the day with boxes or bags full of books, clothes, kitchenwares, electronic devices, decorative objects, or any other kind of trinkets that are no longer so shiny and have fallen not only out of my favor but completely off my memory’s radar. Perhaps what I need to do is to train myself to look at such tempting collectibles as catch my eye with a magical pair of glasses that allows me to see how short their lifespan of use and pleasure will be, and how little the return on time, money, and energy I spend on them can possibly amount to in real terms. My lifetime’s garage sale value must be worlds smaller than what I invested to amass all of the frivolous wonders that ended up in it.

…What was I saying there? I just happened to look out the window as a dazzling butterfly tumbled past, and of course I had to follow it, and then that made me notice something red and glittery off in the distance…

14 thoughts on “Expensive Tastes

  1. Hello, WordPress? I’d like to order an extra large font so I can holler to the rafter how much I LOVE THIS IMAGE!

    On second thought, that might be rude, yelling like that. But I still love it!

  2. This really speaks to my heart, Kathryn! When we invest in the things that truly matter we get to see and collect the things that shine a glitter most… the sparkle in the eyes of those we love, the shine of a friendly smile, and the glow of true friendship. Follow the Yellow Brick Road and chase some butterflies for me. πŸ™‚

    • Funny I should read this comment just now, when I’m sitting at my desk and marveling at the change from this morning’s overcast to a dazzling blue and sunny sky! I guess the Yellow Brick Road and butterflies come to *us*, too! πŸ˜€

  3. This is a great trait to have! It will keep you young at heart. I often try to take your advice and follow the sparkley wherever it takes me. .. However, society seems to not stand for our sparkley chasing and spanks us with a switch. 😒 We’ll show them someday… our way is better!

  4. Delightful drawing, Kathryn! Made me want to dive into an attic trunk full of dressup costumes and put on a tiara this rainy Saturday. I have two frosted glass orbs with swirly irridescent designs that give me a sense of delight EVERY time I walk into the room, especially when the afternoon light shines through them. Shiny objects add something to life:0))

  5. Love the illustration, and your words had me nodding my head in agreement. Love me some shiny and glittery and sparkly stuff. It had me reminiscing about an old Christmas tree from days gone by – way back in the old days (when I was a kid) we had one of those aluminum stick trees with fringed aluminum branches – that thing sparkled like there was no tomorrow, especially after adding a row of twinkling lights. Everyone else thought it was cheesy, but I adored it! Sparkle!

    • I wish I could remember the movie (long forgotten now), but there was a scene in a movie where a woman who was a tad tiched had gone about the neighborhood stealing bits of shine and sparkle, and one day they found her hidden cache in an old shed … thousands of spoons, earrings, brooches, bits of glass, and every other kind of shiny thing, all hanging from threads that were dangling from the ceiling … like walking into a crazy person’s fun house.

      I remember how it practically made my heart clench up, it was so pretty, and so tragic at the same time. I was simultaneously delighted, and also horrified, and secretly swore that some day (SOME DAY) there would come a day that I would have my own “museum of sparkle”. I may be at just the right age to make it happen (minus the thieving from the neighbors part of the equation). Crazy for one is transcendently beautiful for another. πŸ™‚

      • I don’t recognize the movie, but I’ll bet I’d feel the same about it as you did. My version of that collecting is to create a sort of Cabinet of Curiosities with the little bits and bobs I pick up while out and about. Rusty hardware and bottle caps, bug exoskeletons, critter bones, dried seed pods, etc. Eventually, they often end up in collages and found-object sculptures. I just finished (I think!) a couple that I will photograph and use to illustrate something or other on the blog when I’m surer that they’re ‘fully cooked’β€”it was so great to make some arty stuff, other than drawing and photos, again. Found junk: transcendently, crazily beautiful, indeed. πŸ™‚

    • You’ve reminded me of Grandma and Grandpa Wold’s tree from that era: not only fringed aluminum but in *white*, with satin balls in bright pink and sky blue! And I thought it the most beautiful thing on the entire earth. πŸ˜€

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