When Instagram kicked off a special mid-week Valentine's Day-inspired hashtag project called "Objects of Affection," I was immediately intrigued.
First, there's my longstanding conviction that this holiday is a celebration of love in its vast and varied forms, and not just a brag fest for established couples. If I can find a non-mushy way to enrich the celebration, bet the ranch that I will.
Also, I found the title intriguing. I'm infinitely curious about the emotions we humans have about our stuff. When it comes to my possessions, I consider myself a thrower-outer as opposed to a keeper, and I'm doing alright in my goal to travel this life with a relatively light load. But like many people, I sometimes find myself struggling with emotional attachments to things I know I will never use again. Why is this so? Dunno. But the phenomenon fascinates me.
And then there's the fact that I'm always a pushover for a imaginative hashtag project.
So after a few hours of back-burner brainstorming, I came up with this shot.
I treasure my massive collection of picture books, my smaller collection of hand-carved wooden animals, and many lovely bits of paper craft. All of these things have lovely memories for me.
As my daughters grew up, we spent countless hours reading together; each book on my shelves not only tells a wonderful story on its pages but also holds precious, funny, interesting memories from the many times we read it.
The rustic animals reflect my lifelong fascination with creatures; my beasts remind me of dogs I've befriended, horses I've ridden, and the bears that I'm still longing to see.
And the art recalls my passion for making things; as I sort through my boxes and baskets full of handmade Valentines, origami cranes and folded snowflakes, the memories of good times spent making these treasures comes rushing back to me.
But more than just taking me back to a dusty archive of the past, these tokens make me a better person today. Through story, nature, and the pure joy of making things, my objects of affection connect me with the creative curiosity of children, and that is why I love them.