Monday, April 16, 2018

Tidying and its consequences

April 16th, 2018

Monday morning, - and I should be weaving.

However, I have spent part of the morning tidying, and the other part brooding over a couple of cups of coffee.

I am haunted by great hordes of descendants, rolling their eyes, raising their eyebrows, and asking each other in plaintive query, 'why did Grandma save THIS, do you suppose' - while I rest quietly under a blanket of green!

Of course the consequences of all this tidying is that I will not know where anything is, anymore.  I did have some little brain patterns that would lead me eventually to the object of my quest, - but now????

I can tell you where things were on the farm, - ' that book is on the shelf going downstairs, - third from the top step!'.  Now I have no idea which shelf it's on, or whose!!!  The daily chocolate cake is in the middle drawer next to the stove.....  Daily chocolate cake???  Did I really make a chocolate cake daily for that ravenous horde of precious children (and husband)????

It all started when I decided to put various loom instructions away.  The ones that my youngest son had been using to guide him with the tie up.  That led to a general clean-up of all weaving books, - recent and drafts from napkin and towels exchanges from long ago, - all tucked carefully away in colorful bankers boxes, duly marked.

While I was doing this I came across a little collection of poetry.  At one time in my life I was very much into books by May Sarton.  "At Seventy" (probably when I was seventy) and "House by the Seas"  They lived on the table on my side of the bed on tenth avenue.  Where are they now????

This little poem of May Sarton's expresses quite exactly how I would like my house to be, in all simplicity and peace.  It is called  "The Work of Happiness"


I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted  by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room.
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall -
These are the dear familiar gods of home
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life's span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind, 
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

Well, we all know that what with music, the piano, the ukulele, the looms, the STASH, the books, the memoirs, the old report cards and Christmas greetings (saved), the drawers of music books, all the linens and the ornaments, the twelve boxes of hard print photos and snaps, and the albums, and a box of old essays, and all the letters Charles and I wrote to and fro while he was training and flying Lancasters, my journals and the shelves of genealogy info  - oh, I must stop........!!!

Perhaps somebody will be delighted and say, "Oh look, - Grandma's old Cookie Jar"


.I would show you the actual cookie jar, but it is on the top shelf and I am not allowed to take a camera up the step ladder to snap a picture!!!  I keep my meagre supply of cookies for Great Grandma in the middle drawer by the stove!!

3 comments:

Chip Butter said...

Another delightful post (of course)! I really try not to move things around much for fear those things will never be found. I have read one of May Sarton's books and even jotted down a few of her lines that I wanted to remember. I love her thoughts here on happiness.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

As long as you don't forget that the daily cookies are stored in the middle drawer what could go wrong? (And by the way, cookies sound better to me at this stage than a daily chocolate cake ... our children weren't quite that fortunate by the way!!)

In all seriousness, I do know what you mean about how "stuff" accumulates. We have downsized, pared down, and then done it again and again ... but still ....

Barb said...

I loved reading your post, Hildred. I TRY hard to keep tidying so our home remains simple and uncluttered. However, things seem to sprout and grow overnight, so eventually, I must begin again with renewed diligence. My family would certainly be lucky if there were homemade cookies someplace in my kitchen. My days of baking have really dwindled. However, now and then I make your orange muffins (as bread) and think of you. My grandkids are grateful to you! It's snowing hard here. Bob and I leave for the beach in a few days. Yippee!