Little boxes


Horsham Downs photographer Claudia Aalderink came across an intriguing little wooden box at a market recently, and it set her to thinking about the item itself and its use in everyday language…

The word box can be understood as an object where we put something in. Its connotations, however, reach much further. This is where the emotional part comes into play and most people can make an imaginative association with it, whether positive or negative, and usually based on the various social, cultural or emotional implications associated with it.

When I say I’m feeling like ‘a box of birds’ I actually mean I’m doing well. I wouldn’t even know what being a bird feels like, let alone a box of them. On the other hand, I could imagine being a bird and flying wherever I want to go, whenever I want to. It must be an enormous feeling of freedom and control, so a whole box of these lucky chirpy ones should feel great.

‘Thinking outside the box’, not an unfamiliar concept to me, is an expression most people can relate to. This is a metaphorical phrase, which means to think different or approach something from an out of the ordinary perspective.

As an object one could think, for instance, of a cardboard device to carry your groceries in (who uses plastic bags these days anyway) or that special place to hold a memory, old photographs or a tooth that is now waiting for an acceptable monetary swap from the tooth fairy.

For me, a box has a special significance and I give that to it by giving it a special place in my home and keeping it safe for the next generation. It can hold so many important items but sometimes it can be just a box, with a metaphorical meaning.

This particular wooden box was for sale at a local market and seeing people taking it in their hands time after time fascinated me. Picking it up with such care and love, it was as if they were picking up their own destiny, then opening it with the anticipation of what might be in it only to find out that it was empty and confirming that whatever you want to put in it, you will have to do yourself.

‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get’ (Forrest Gump, 1994) which illustrates that life is nothing, really, until you add the meaning. That little box holds so many wishes, dreams, and secrets and the anticipation of opening it and follow those passions, developing interests, and make those life choices added a whole different meaning to that little wooden box.

ClaudiaClaudia Aalderink produces Claudia’s Corner exclusively for N8N. A whimsical, weekly photographic column on anything that takes her fancy.

Check out her website here.

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