Photo courtesy FlickrYesterday got away completely, but Saturday morning looks routine-a couple of hours for the garden (not bad for spring planting time), maybe fifteen minutes to set up the outdoor loafing area, spare time to fool around and detail housekeeping just for sport. Not being on deadline is a vacation.
There’s a TV series about hoarding, although I haven’t watched it. I’ve seen many hoarders in action, and helped an archaeologist, no kidding, excavate a house inherited from one. She was a tender soul, and treated things as carefully as she treated her animals.
Perhaps it's time for a new take on hoarding. With all respect to the research that helps us get a grip on inventory control, it might be useful to manage things with gentle hands that have a good sense of the worth of an object. The trick is to have few enough things to manage well, so the urge to conserve and protect works for the household rather than against it. The most important thing to hoard is attention.
The word “hearth” means “focus”. Consistently, I have found that if I start tweaking the household at the stove, things work for me rather than I working for them.
I've spent the last couple of months dejunking in lieu of spring cleaning. The working artifacts that remain take their places with dignity. Things stack up well, literally. There’s enough room in storage areas to assess the current state of things at a glance.
When we bought our first little house, a wise high school teacher who loved design said, “Leave room for people.” I can’t imagine a better way to approach life under a given roof. A carefully managed space feels huge-er than it actually is. Conscious placement of the most ordinary furnishings can yield a sense of expanding volume rather than of clutter.
A friend keeps his drum set in our living room and welcomes others to use it. A full-time musician stopped by a few years ago on business and exclaimed about the fine old instruments. I invited him to play, he said the owner’s policy was incredibly generous, repositioned things, and brought astonishing sound out of them. I don't know enough to say what it was-perhaps some kind of jazz.
When the drummer left, I went into the living room and found that the drums' corner had been transformed into an elegant assemblage of related forms standing quietly and forthrightly on their own small feet. It was the most breathtakingly beautiful interior I have ever seen. The aged chrome and metal flake instruments caught the daylight at their backs and cast it into the room in a subtle dance of reflection.
Observing the transformation was like standing on the ocean beach at the border of the Quinault tribal lands around 1997. Closed to the general public decades earlier because of abuse, the beach had regained the vast sky and towering natural heights of the wild Peninsula of my childhood, my mother’s childhood, and her mother’s childhood. I could stand at the edge of the road and literally by turning my head shift from one reality to another. Even the sand and driftwood of the tribal beach were once again as translucent and resonant as the leaves, clouds, and surf that surrounded them.
-30- More after the jump.