The little treasures I cherish


Alysse Calabio

Some goods at a little gift shop I had found

Upon the windowsill sat a portrait staring at all those that walked on by. In front of it stood a table adorned by varying goods: bare journals, tea kettles, cutting boards, and intricate vases. On the wall, a small, aging mirror hung, reflecting numerous little ornaments and trinkets that clung against the walls. A cluster of mismatched items veiled every surface. It was a collection of contrasting objects, and yet, at the same time, they all seemed to fit together; the sight was a beautiful mess—one that I found contentment gazing upon.

The moments in which I uncover small businesses and locations have become some of my favorites: in these places, I am able to find small treasures hidden amongst the bountiful array of dazzling attractions—jewels waiting to be discovered.

I think of all the little knick-knacks that embellish my home; they are a small testament to the obscure, captivating stores I find along my spontaneous escapades. Upon my brother’s wall hangs a map of Paris that we, ironically, had bought in a small boutique we had found while on a trip to Chicago. Stored within the drawers of my mom’s cupboards are the gift store postcards memorializing all the adventures and trips we have been on throughout the years. Within my jewelry box sits my seemingly infinite collection of earrings that I had obtained over time from a simple curiosity of a store. 

These treasures–a map, some postcards, and earrings–are all especially distinct from one another, yet in many ways, they are alike. Each one is from their own store, and each one is reminiscent of the feelings those stores exhibit. From the cluttered adventure that both the map and its shop emulate to the delicate curiosity of the earrings, which their shop also displayed, these pieces hold memories of the ambiance of their associated shops and the emotions that come with it. Every shop, and every treasure, is a souvenir of feelings, each conveying a particular personality that is all their own. 

Every shop, and every treasure, is a souvenir of feelings, each conveying a particular personality that is all their own.

It is almost enchanting how, despite the uniquely individualistic qualities each store possesses, they all seem to emit a calming, comforting sensation. Any worrying sentiments seem to dissipate as a welcoming, homely warmth washes over me; it brings an inexplicable feeling of tranquility–engulfing me as I enter those quiet, quaint shops.

It is this feeling of serene familiarity I find myself chasing after when the world crashes on top of me. Every small bookshop I’ve found and every little gift store I’ve encountered have become a shield from the overwhelming world. They have become a blissful escape from the constant stream of work.

Even so, there is nothing I relish more than sharing these quaint locations with those close to me. The memories that I make with those I care for never seem to diminish the solace I find within these places. Rather the moments I look back upon seem to only make that feeling I yearn for that much warmer as if it were a lingering afterglow. Those memories make the small walls of each store feel as if they grew to be a million times larger with each laugh that bounced off of them.

Over time, I’ve come to cherish all of it, from the small shops I encounter to all the little trinkets. Each item retains the ambiance which each store entailed. Each item holds memories from within each shop. Each item is an object I treasure.