This morning I’ve been reading the marvelous book The Gift of An Ordinary Day and it’s stirring in me both the desire to write and the desire to work in my house to make it even more beautiful and comfortable than it already is. It’s inspiring in me an even greater love and gratitude for life as it is right now, in this present moment. My tummy is full from a scrambled egg breakfast burrito, a small bowl of homemade rice pudding, and a large mug of hot sweet green tea. The autumn sun is shining through the leaves of the cedars and cottonwoods outside my patio door and the heater is cranked up to eleven, making it warm and cozy inside. The patio wind chimes are tinkling gracefully in the breeze. My upstairs neighbor, Laura, is puttering around her apartment and humming. My cat, Horatio, has found a new spot to sleep, on a box of clothes that Torie left in the Spare Oom when she moved; I can hear him rustling around in there now. In a minute, I’ll take a shower and put on some soft roomy clothes for my own puttering comfort, and will either spend some time in the Spare Oom or my own bedroom, contemplating ways to make them more inviting.
This morning I’m full of wonder at the joy that eye-pleasing, heart-warming, welcoming atmospheres offer to our souls when we take the time to notice them. In fact, when we take time to notice, any atmosphere or element at all can contain beauty, even if it’s a prison wall, a barbed-wire fence, or construction rubble. The task I’ve given myself lately has been to notice beauty everywhere I go, and to appreciate the things I have rather than focus on the things I don’t have. With this in mind, I decided last night to avoid any kind of shopping except for groceries for awhile. There are too many unused things already in our small apartment, tucked away in closets and on shelves, we have a mini-storage unit out back that’s filled to the brim, and a quarter of my parents’ garage is dedicated to boxes of our stuff and furniture that didn’t fit when we moved here. Before adding more, I want to do some necessary culling. Every garden needs to be weeded so the plants that are truly wanted will flourish, and shoving the weeds into boxes only clutters up more space. I already moved the very large breadbox off the kitchen counter and put the one lone loaf of bread that was in it in the cupboard instead. It makes a huge difference already! In fact, I’m already seeing the breadbox used in another capacity altogether… hmm… possibilities.
Okay, I tried that and it didn’t work. To the garage sale pile it goes!
It’s now evening of the same day. I’m here again on the couch, the aroma of a pumpkin candle still penetrating the air long after it’s been blown out, my cat gazing blearily at me from his favorite perch on the back of a chair, the ambient fire crackling on its television hearth. There are some kids playing close by, though I can only hear them, not see them. From the sound of it, they’re having fun, which hearkens me back to my own childhood Saturday nights, playing games in the yard with my neighborhood friends: games like Hide-and-Seek, Mother May I, Freeze Tag, Punch Your Little Brother Until He Cries… you know, those kinds.
This is kind of off-topic, but my brother and I were very violent with each other, which is so strange to think of now. I asked my kids if they ever hit each other growing up and they all said no, so I’m considering the evolution of our family a success. My dad said that when he and his siblings were little they got in literal knock-down, drag-out fights that even resulted once in a broken nose, or a broken tooth, something like that. A broken toilet maybe. So we’ve progressed. My kids’ kids, should they have them, will no doubt be offering daisies to their brothers and sisters instead of flying fists of impotent rage.
Okay, I know this is reeeally off-topic, but my eye caught one of my previous sentences and read it in an entirely new and far more interesting way (changes in italics): “There are some kids playing close by, though only I can hear them, not see them.” Gah, I wish that were true! That would be awesome! But then how would I know, since I’m here by myself, with only my cat to guide me? And God knows what Horatio sees and hears. God knows and I’m probably glad I never will. All right, enough of that nonsense and besides, this hoss is hongry now. Time to forage for supper. Love you guys! Happy weekend!!