I am feeling the lightness of decluttering. I confess that my “bite-size” approach to reorganization that I spoke loftily about in my last post became more of an enormous feast that offered course after course, each more tempting than the one before. The lazy days of summer, sipping ice tea and reading a good book, morphed into a greater adventure of looking back, remembering, reconnecting. Clearing away the “stuff” seemed to give greater significance to my “life events.” One thing that has become clear to me these past couple of months: our ability to accumulate is far greater than our capacity to de-accumulate. Perhaps it is because our “things” are connected to recollections of good times, festivities, achievements. They are the link to our past, and letting go is a sign of forgetting.
In the first two or three decades of our lives, we are in the state of accumulating memories – graduations, weddings, births, careers etc. There is a sense of movement, of fresh opportunities. But in the last decades of our lives, we recognize the significance of passages and transitions. So it came as a surprise to me that “letting go” of stuff was the beginning of a new journey. Soren Kierkegaard believed that “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” When you have years to look back on, there is a great understanding how to live forward. I found that I best understood this when I came across my grandmother’s recipe for Æbleskiver (Ebbleskeever as spelled by my grandmother), found in a cookbook published by the women in her farming community who came together to share recipes.
Æbleskiver, which means apple slices, is a traditional Danish pancakes that comes in the shape of a sphere. It is a pancake of sorts, but it has the lightness of a popover. There is a special pan, generally made out of case iron which allows the heat to penetrate the batter. I have heard that there are electrical pans, something that my grandmother would never have imagined.
I have never made, Æbleskiver. Maybe it’s time I tried.