Mel Birnkrant's
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All Original Written and Photographic content is Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT
          Whatís it like to live, surrounded by a thousand objects?  Well, each one is like an eager Puppy, waiting for a morsel of attention, and forever trying to catch his master's eye.  I try to, at least, glance at them, as often as I can, to keep them happy.  Nonetheless, I must confess that, sometimes, I ignore them for days on end.  But puppies become older dogs, and in the end, are glad just to sleep comfortably in a warm safe place, waiting patiently and remaining faithful to their master.  Bottom line: I am convinced that all the dogs and puppies in my care are glad to be there.

Sometimes, I will go into the room to turn the heat down, late at the night.  And when I least expect it, an object that I had nearly forgotten will cross my mind, as if it's calling out to me in the darkness.  And I will find myself turning on the light to seek it out and look at it.

But, much of the time, the things in my collection become Wallpaper.

Surely, you know what I mean.  Have you ever lived in a room with busy wallpaper?  We have selective vision and we can tune things out.  Thus, they become, if not invisible, unnoticed.  So, while you might have been bowled over by the wallpaper, the first time you entered that room, eventually, you cease to notice it.  But, then again, perhaps, sometime later, that same wallpaper will catch your attention again, compelling you to stare at it, at length, to study its patterns and repeats, and even seek to detect the seams?

I recall a story I read, when I was still a teen.  It was called the "Yellow Wallpaper". It was about a woman, who was bedridden in a room with yellow wallpaper.  She became fascinated by the tiny details and the intricacies of its design.  As she traced the endless patterns of fences and floral flourishes that threaded in and around scenes of lads and lasses in charming country settings, the logic behind the way the complex pattern repeated eluded her.  Over time, her fascination became obsession. And her eyes seemed to play tricks on her.  One day, the sheep appeared to be a little closer to the shepherd, or the cow seemed to have moved a little farther from the bull.  The pattern was changing subtly, as if the wallpaper were alive.  In the end, she becomes part of the wallpaper.  The story teller, who is the woman, herself, doesn't make it clear, whether she is now living, for all eternity, in the tiny world pictured on the wallpaper, or she is, somehow, trapped between the wallpaper and the wall.

Sometimes, I sit before the wall you can see in this picture, and in a matter of speaking, become part of the wallpaper.
I float up and become very small, and walk or fly among the objects on the shelves.  Size and scale become anything I want them to be.  I can stand next an object, just a few inches tall, and look it in the eye, or become smaller still, and gaze up at tiny figures, towering above me, that for an exquisite moment,   appear to be as monumental as the Statue of Liberty.

I can flit from one object to another, hovering like a bee.  All the while, I am drinking in the nectar, savoring the preciousness of this Instant of Present time that is so fat and rich and overflowing with the Past.  And, as I pet each puppy with my eyes, it glows again, as brightly as it did the day I first laid eyes upon it, or held it in my hands.

Perhaps this sounds crazy to you, but it shouldn't.  In a darkened theatre, do you not float up and enter the world you see upon the screen?  Does not this also happen, every time you pick up a book and open, what we call, "the cover"?  I believe, it ought to be called, not the cover, but "the door".  And when you open that door, do you not step through a portal, into another world?  Your body might remain outside, but you are inside, having an adventure, through the magic of the author's collection,... of words, nicely displayed.