Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Notes from a Rustic-Cozy Week

It's been a strange week so far, with repeat visits from insurance adjusters and AC installers, this feeling that for every step forward, we may get knocked back 4 steps--but perhaps not.  The AC seems to be an easy fix.  Maybe it's not 4 steps back, but a pause.

These are the days that make me feel like I'll never have sustained focus for a project ever again.  Let me record some impressions which may twist together into a poem or may just shed some light on this week in June.

--One online class will soon come to an end.  I wrote myself a note to remind myself to do the final grades this week-end.  In the shadowed light of the early morning kitchen, it looks like I wrote Do Final Oracles, instead of Do Final Grades.  What would the Final Oracle have to say to us?

--I bought one of those robot vacuum cleaners thinking that I'd free up some time and have cleaner floors.  But it's sort of like having a puppy:  I leave it to its own devices, and it gets into trouble.  I have to rescue it from some piece of furniture that it's gotten stuck under or pull some cords out of it.

--On Monday, my spouse made a mac and cheese dish in the cast iron skillet on the grill.  Even though he greased the pan, much of the mac and cheese wanted to remain stuck in the pan.  So, we had a day of scraping and soaking and scraping and soaking again.  Last night, as I was scrubbing the pan, I thought about the years of cleaning up after my grandmother's meals.  She'd whip out a bit of steel wool and make cleaning that pan look so easy.  As I scrubbed, I wondered if I was not only scrubbing out bits of our Monday meal but long lost dinners:  pork chops and Salisbury steak and gravy made of meat juice, flour, and milk.

--As we've been working on getting the cottage ready for the camp counselors who will be arriving Sunday, we've also been talking about what to do with the cottage.  We were talking about what it would take to get the cottage to anything rentable, particularly on a short term basis, like Air BnB. Rustic-cozy might not appeal to that crowd.  I had a vision of a monastic retreat house, something for everyone who has ever yearned for Thomas Merton’s hermitage. I have no idea how to find those people or if they’d be willing to go on that kind of retreat.

--What do I mean by rustic-cozy?  No TV.  Perhaps no wi-fi.  Concrete floors--but with a rug on the floors.  Flowered curtains and quilts.  A serviceable shower, but not a garden tub.  A serviceable kitchen without a lot of work space.

--I've been eating a lot of watermelon--big tubs of cut watermelon pieces have been on sale at Doris' for $4.99 a tub.  I buy it thinking I'll make a tub last several days.  I often eat the whole thing.  It's delicious and refreshing--and filling!  If I kept receipts, some day I'd look back and marvel at how much I spent during the month of June on watermelon.

--My sleep schedule is stranger than usual.  As I tried to sleep on Sunday night, I was stiff and sore and restless.  At some point Monday morning, I fell into a deep sleep--and missed my chance to go to spin class.  I almost never oversleep, but I woke up at 5:50 and decided against a mad rush to get ready to go by 6.  I had a good walk.  This morning, I gave up on sleep about 1:15.

--One of the benefits of being up early is the opportunity to write in my offline journal and to work on a poem.  I've been thinking of my old backpacking equipment, of the elegant simplicity of it all.  I've been thinking about snakebite kits and all the snakes of modern life. 

--I don't want to give up on last week's poem that I was trying to develop around the central image of a bird who build a nest in a Christmas wreath--a symbol of hospitality?

And now, it's time to move to the next part of my day:  spin class and then work.

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