On the last leg of my afternoon walk, I stopped in my tracks. Two policemen stood by their parked cars talking with neighbors. Across from them, junk littered the front lawn of a brick bungalow, shrubbed with a crimson azalea bush. I edged closer. It looked like thieves had hurriedly discarded unwanted items in their need to escape.

 

I moved still closer. The scene began to look weird. Superimposed upon the junk was a bizarre order. A string of rusting kitchen chairs lined the side of the driveway; staged upon each navy seat were tools, a can opener, a Polaroid camera, faded photo albums, magazines. Across the lawn, mismatched boxes held an old computer, the residue of long-neglected drawers and closets, twisted lamps, torn lawn chairs, and so much more. A red and white sign along the curb indicated this was a garage sale.

 

“The housing inspector asked us to check this out,” said one of the young officers shrugging his shoulders. “The owner’s not home.”

 

“Might he need some help?” I asked.

 

“No, he’s just mean. We’ll take care of this,” he assured me. ”

 

More questions surfaced. How frame this eerie experience? A hostile gesture toward neighbors with pristine lawns and flowerbeds? A display of the owner’s dark side, one he shares with all of us?

 

Indeed, we all have our “junk,” which we stuff within dark recesses of our souls, off limits even to ourselves. The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung has much to say on this subject. See Volume IX , part 2, of his Collected Works.

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