You know you are feeling well when it’s Saturday and you wake up before 5:00 a.m. and you have already ground and brewed the coffee. You have also noticed–again–the accumulated spill on that one drip tray under the front, left stove-top burner, but this time you have decided you shall clean it. When you remove it you also take note of the grunge under it and you spray that with Method cleaner (hearty endorsement) and you swipe at it until it gleams. Oh, then you decide to take all of the drip trays and spray them with horrible, toxic oven cleaner and place them into the oven to avoid the fumes. You muse that sometimes, only sometimes, a principle, e.g. avoiding toxins, must be violated in pursuit of making something better.
While those trays are “self-cleaning”, i.e. you have added a sort of enzyme that seems to contravene entropy, you putter around with your cup of dark wonder from another world, sipping and smiling at the general order and tidiness of this space, a space that–to be sure–you have somehow had a hand in creating or fashioning to your liking, but you know (hence the smile) that it has all come about only by the hand of the creator himself, that he has led you here and made a path straight so that it has been easy in retrospect. You think all of this in retrospect because in certain moments of the previous months it has not been easy, and you have thought it all in vain and you may even have grown almost despondent.
You have taken steps to avoid the pain of some of those moments and those steps have been missteps mostly, and they have caused further pain in yourself and in others and may have caused unnecessary suffering. This is a tragedy about which you can do very little and you vow to be aware of situations and circumstances, thoughts and feelings, which may become stimuli to repeat the error.
You shrug it off as temporary, and most certainly unnecessary, and you proceed to putter again. Yesterday you had brought in a bench from your entryway outside the front door and last night you had moved it to a choice spot in front of the curtained patio door. It looked quite good there last night, and you had made room for it by moving the heavy oak chair over to the far corner, placing a stylish cushion on it and upon the black and brown throw that is draped over the chair. The bench looked even nicer when you remembered that you had found it abandoned in the recycling area months ago. You’d paid nothing but a little effort to carry it to your entryway, a bargain considering that it is solid wood and was made by some competent craftsmen in Denmark. Who knows how long ago, and who knows how it arrived here and came to be abandoned? The creator does, and it is glorious, how he initiated all, all! of creation and called it good.
Last night you had also called it all good, and the bench was properly placed. But this morning you have noticed that carpet stain beneath it, previously hidden since January on the day following the 12th day of Christmas. On that day you had removed the Christmas tree and had apparently failed to see the stain on the carpet beneath the tree where some Sprite/water mix had spilled. That mix had kept the tree fresh for over six weeks, and you had allowed it to drink 2.5 liters of the stuff, while you had tasted none of it.
You are feeling well, still, and that stain has to go! With an intentional and mindful decision not to follow the directions on the can, you spray some carpet cleaner on the spot and rub it in with a cloth. You do not allow it to dry because you believe that you know better, that you will suck it all up still damp with your small vacuum. You are correct; the stain is imperceptible, and after moving the bench three centimeters to the left, you feel even better. Funny, how these thoughts and this feeling of wellness–although positive–are also temporary.
You may feel bad again, but screw it all because it will be okay again and again and again and it is only 7:15 a.m. on this Saturday morning and the songbird has not ceased to sing since long before dawn . . .
Photograph “Reflection” © 2019 Timothy Waugh
P. S. None of this may be a delight to you, of course. How would I know? But it’s how I see it. Now I have shared it, and I do hope you feel well.
Also how long, really, do people spend in their prayer rooms? I chose that Astoria, OR photograph from my collection because of its nautical theme and had smiled earlier when in my own restroom I cherished the distinctively utilitarian feel of the small space. I have been in many such rooms in the homes of friends and acquaintances and have seen driftwood, seashells, and paintings of lighthouses and such. I have also seen stacks of small books there, and in my short time in these rooms, I have wondered what these people were getting at. Is the nautical theme present because of all the access to water? Do they draw a nice warm bath and imagine floating in the Sea of Delight or pretend they are adrift in a storm as the shower sprays fresh, not salt water, upon them? Do they sit on their toilets and read as if in waiting at the top of the steps in the lighthouse for that ship to arrive in their port?
My room has none of that, but now that I think about it perhaps I will dress it up a bit. I do have everything necessary and I have some good towels and washcloths and a matching shower curtain and rug. Some nice racks and soap dishes are also there, all found, of course. I have rescued a gorgeous three-candle holder made of wrought iron leaves, and I have many other candles I could bring in for a nice soak in the Sea. It is not at all beyond the scope of reality that I may also find a small shelf or cabinet to bring in. Maybe, just maybe, a fine piece of furniture will arrive from Norway or another country by the sea, and it will be abandoned too. And then, regardless of how I feel, I may bring it in and place it just so. I shall not be reading much I think, but I will likely write about it all someday. I can share it that way, you know.