I rarely buy anything on vacation. Frankly I have enough gifty-crap items from other people’s vacations to last a lifetime. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the thought, it’s just that for the most part, I only end up Oooing and Ahhhing for a few minutes. After that, the item is destined for storage or the trash bin. I’m simply not a collector of anything. Well, nothing except spoons.
My mother got me started collecting spoons when I was quite young. She was a collector of sorts herself for many years, but never really displayed them. They were closeted away or thrown in a drawer from what I remember, to be gotten out on occasion and loving told the story of their existence. But when I married, my mother gave several unique spoons, many real silver, to help me get started. It was like she was giving me a piece of herself to take along in my new life, when I moved 2000 miles away. And her gesture still touches me today.
But back to vacations. It’s funny really, but although I am the one who collects the spoons, it’s really my husband who remembers to look for them when we’re on the road. “Here’s one from Colorado. Have you got one of these yet?” or, “This one has a hole where the spoon part should be” or “what about this one with the toucan?” If it wasn’t for his persistence I doubt whether I would have much of a collection beyond what my mother started me out with 32 years ago.
So, beyond spoon hunting, I do little in the way of buying stuff on vacation. But once and a while I see something that catches my eye, and my wallet.
This summer’s destination took us to Moab Utah. Although I had never heard of this city, it isn’t far from The Arches National Park where my husband and I planned to spend the day. That was until the winds whipped up in tornado fashion and we decided there was only so much sand we could tolerate in our eyes, ears and other orifices. So we ventured back down the mountain to the rather hippy city of Moab where they were having a summer festival. Even there the tents were swaying like palm trees in a hurricane, but there was a pretty good ska band playing, lots of mobile food vendors and a sizable selection of creative people marketing their wares. Since I wasn’t too interested in buying I gave most booths a cursory glance as we meandered through the rows of peddlers. Until I saw something that really made me stop and gawk.
It was a jewelry stand, which under normal circumstances I never venture into. I wear like two rings, and when I think about I put in earrings. But this stand was not just about jewelry, but about spoons as well.
The artist was stooped over the table creating something as we approached. But what drew my eyes were the amazing bracelets, pendants and earrings laid out before me. Each one, more unique than the other – and made from old silverware!
My husband could tell I was in seventh heaven. “Go ahead, try one on.” And I did. Several in fact, before I decided to purchase a bracelet made from a fork, with tines carefully clasping a snowflake obsidian stone. He was right, I was in seventh heaven – seventh sustainable heaven.
It’s so easy to be taken in by good ol American greed especially on vacation, so I’m always glad I normally stick to my guns and avoid falling into that money pit. But I’m also glad in this case, I discovered this amazing artist, purchased something I love, and can pass along her webiste info (at the end of this entry).
Who we are shouldn’t get left behind, along with the mail and potted plants, the minute we take to the open road in search of rest and relaxation. We are just as accountable away from home. But I think many times the allure of being away-from-it-all somehow gives us permission to behave differently, forget our values, and even spend our money ignoring the “sustainable” conscience that guides us so religiously at home.
I love vacation season. Love to travel well, get some R&R, but I’m also glad I normally keep my greenie wits about me. For the most part, I only bring back pictures.
Enjoy this time of year folks. Get out and do the travel thing, whole hog if you’ve got the time and resources. But ignore the gifty-crap. If you see something that makes eco-sense to you, support the vendor or store owner.
And when you return, all sun-tanned and relaxed like like a wet noodle, you’ll feel better. And so will your landfill.