A House in the Woods: Oh the Joys


Getting ready to fill the coffee pot this morning, I lifted a dishrag left overnight in the kitchen sink. This spider — very much alive beneath the damp rag — is what I saw. This spider is what made me all quavery inside as I corralled it into a glass and carried it outside to dump out on the deck.

Either sated by milk or just as shaken as I was, the spider sat motionless for a long, long time.

There was a cardinal lingering in a branch just above the spider. The next time I looked, the spider was gone. Escaped to the nearby rock wall or food for a hungry bird? I’ll never know. I do know I won’t leave a dishrag in the sink anymore.

Why So Busy? Rest. The House Can Wait.

Autumn Light, In Sharp Focus

This past year has been a blur of busy-ness, much of it related to home upkeep: roofing, painting, plumbing, replacing boards destroyed by carpenter bees and woodpeckers, doing the planning to make all these projects happen.

This has been a year of re-evaluation, too: Questioning the wisdom of expending so much life energy and resources on the maintenance of property. Thinking about The American Dream of owning a home and immersing oneself in overseeing it, insuring it, paying taxes on it. Thinking about shelter as a concept and about people who are homeless, or displaced from their homes, in places throughout the world. Realizing, on a personal level, that there are important things to do in life, and that time — and energy –are not as infinite as they used to be.

Sometimes, all this pondering is too much, and a seemingly minor event interrupts the whirling excesses of the brain. This time it was in the form of an unexpected beam of autumn light.

This summer, I put two small, wire chairs out near the creek, in order to work on a writing project (or something). I sat by the creek, not paying much attention to my surroundings. I went back inside. The season passed, and I used the chairs a few more times, mainly as a convenient surface to hold pots or garden tools while I was on my way somewhere else. Then, fall came, and with it, unexpected patterns of light and reflection.

One day,  I looked out the window and saw the light focused on my chairs as if to say, “Here’s where you need to be. Slow down. Listen to the sounds of the water. Rest, just for a while.” Resting is not something I do very well. Idleness was not considered a virtue when I was growing up. So now I’m going back to that little girl and gently suggesting that she doesn’t have to be working, or busy, every second of the day. She’ll be glad to hear that, I think.

By the Creek

This is my wish for you, and for myself : Some time to rest. A soothing spot in Nature. Peace of mind. And no housing worries, whatsoever.