On a recent trip to Albuquerque I visited the Art Museum, which has a current exhibit of New Mexico artists, for which many artists have provided quotations.  This one comes from Melissa Zink (1932-2009):

It’s like you’re walking around with this enormous suitcase full of magic and you are never allowed to open it, because the rules say that the tings in that suitcase are not worthy of artistic consideration.  Worlds, childhood memories, pretend, fantasy, archaeology – all that.

What a great metaphor: a picture I can carry with me like that suitcase.  Zink has clearly found her way to break those “rules”: her piece in the exhibit is three dimensional wall art: clever, whimsical, thought provoking.

I was captured by this statement partly because one of the things in Zink’s suitcase is archaeology.  That is something that peeks out every time I open my suitcase.  Digging into the past, pottery sherds, separating the gem from the dirt: these are images I have used often.  There are also real memories from my time in Egypt and Italy. 

I never worked as an archaeologist, but I am one if you count digging in books, archives and other relics of the past.

Each of us has more past to explore than we can fit in one suitcase.