Thursday, March 19, 2009

Home and Thinking...

Back home.

I sat on the red bench on the front porch this afternoon where I ate a great big green salad for lunch. It was warm and relaxing there, so I lingered, flipping through a new book called A Slice of Organic Life (thanks so much for the recommendation, Aimee; I'll have more to say about this book soon) and watching clouds form in the sky. And I thought and thought.


That's what I've been doing for most of the day. Thinking.

Recently, I knew it was time to tip the balance from spending most of my time on that side of the mountains to this one. Time to come home. I'll now be "here" more than I'm "there."

As I drove across the mountains yesterday and started the short descent to the basin floor and the high desert, I was struck by how much I love living in this wild and remote part of the state and how happy I was to be going home. When I drove into the driveway and stepped out of the car, the sun shone, the sky was blue, the air was warm, and my grandsons were grinning and waving at me through the window as they bounced up and down on the big chair. I dragged my things into the house and set them aside to be dealt with later. I visited with Michelle and the boys for awhile, and then I was struck by a great, energizing wave of Exuberant Domesticity!

It's spring. Time for my annual decluttering and spring cleaning. And there's so much work to be done! I flung open doors and windows, washed some clothes and hung them on the line, and piled some wood on the porch. I put my cookbooks and knives away, first thing, because I have my priorities right. And then I made lists and plans for what I want to get done around here.

I can't wait to bake long-ferment whole grain breads again (it seems I need to do this). If I can, I want to start picking up raw milk and eggs from my friends who sell them. I want to sew together strips of the pretty fabric I bought last fall to make couch pillows. And, while I'm at it, maybe I'll make new curtains for the kitchen window. I want to clean up my herb beds and get them ready for planting (even though I can't plant until late May). I want to go through every box, drawer, and cupboard in the house and get rid of a great deal of what I own. Walls need scrubbing. Curtains and bedding need washing and airing. I'll get this place all spruced up, decluttered, fresh, and clean!

First thing this morning, I got up and wanted to get right on it. I built a fire in the stove to take the chill off the frosty morning air and had my usual quiet coffee time, and then... I was paralyzed. Overwhelmed. Couldn't find a good place to start. My wave of exuberant domesticity had overstimulated and swamped me. So, after flailing around fruitlessly all morning, stabbing at this, poking at that, and dabbling around here and there, I stopped. And that's when I relaxed on the front porch bench with my salad and the book. I stared at the sky, slowed down my mind, and thought.

I've always tried to live and work at a steady, puttery pace (one accomplishes much this way), and I reminded myself once again to slow down. Make a list, yes, but start simply, focusing on one thing at a time. Don't hurry. Enjoy what I'm doing. Do it thoroughly and well. Then move on to the next thing. No struggle. No pressure. No time limits. No stress. And leave plenty of room for people, writing letters, reading, interests, hobbies, fresh air and exercise, just sitting around, and other important things.

Okay. What about blogging? I thought about that, too. How do I want to proceed? I know for sure that I have gotten away, in the past four months, from the things I want to do here. I've gotten more personal, at times, than I want to be. I don't consider myself to be particularly wise or knowing, and I certainly have nothing to say that hasn't been-- or can't be-- said better by someone else.

I don't want to attempt to create another blog that is meant to be pretty or clever or deep, and I couldn't do it well anyway. There is nothing about me or my life or my talents that is grand or unusual or striking. I'm a very ordinary woman living very ordinary days in a very ordinary house. But I've learned lessons about living well and making a good home, and I hope I can share some of this in a simple way that is encouraging.

Basically, if I keep blogging, it has got to be light and positive. Hopefully, what I write will be a help in being joyfully domestic; in creating an atmosphere for relaxed, happy, fruitful learning; or in living simply and well, with broad margins. For me that encompasses a range of things-- cooking for joy and good health, daily rhythms and routines, reading (I've learned about so many good books through blogs!), living green, good things for children, hospitality and relationships, work, creativity, and much more.

But it won't include pointedly spiritual lessons or deep and personal ponderings of my heart. (I'm not being critical of blogs that do that; it's just not for me.) It won't include attempting to be "transparent" (I will not be less than real and honest, but I won't get personal; please consider it implicit in my posts that my family has not been exempt from struggles and trials and deep waters, and, I have to say that a good, joyful life can be lived in spite of them).

I also don't want to give too much time to the computer, the internet, or the blogging world, so I'll post things when I'm ready, when I can, without hurry. I kept a computer time limit in the past (I don't need to say what it was), and I'll keep it again (maybe even shorter than before). It's nice that, when something is on my mind, I can usually write about it really quickly.

I'm actually eager to get back to what is most fun for me and fits my vision for blogging (not that I haven't been having fun all along)-- sharing with you the things that have made home and learning life very pleasant for my family. In fact, I've pulled out my list of 10 Things that Make a Positive Learning Environment, and I'm making good progress on numbers 8 and 9-- "Good Work to Do" and "Doing Real Things." As long as I can keep writing them, they'll be here for anyone who is interested in reading them.