Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Turning Over New Leaves :: Two Hundred Ninety Nine

A word of warning, I prepared my family, Everything I do, for an indeterminate time, will have everything to do with the powerful influences for good that inspired me while we were in Massachusetts and Maine. Prepare for me to say things like, "In New England I saw this..." and "Let's try it the way they do it in New England." It might get a bit irksome. They may be tempted to roll their eyes, because I am firmly committed to my crush and I want to let it all out! If it looks like, smells like, feels like, sounds like, or simply reminds me of, our wonderful stay in New England, I am going to propose we adopt it, wear it, share it, make it our own. Short of planting a maple tree forest, and adding a rustic stone wall to replace our cyclone fence... I really want to bring New England to our Bird House.

Jennifer has a bookcase with her cookbooks tidily displayed. They are accessible and ready to inspire. This may have something to do with why & how she fed us so well, with delicious meals made from scratch. This is a three-fold influence: Display. Tidy. Prepare. My friends' home lovingly, artfully, displays everything that is treasured, and appreciated, neatly, thoughtfully. The calm and clear approach to home-keeping not only feels warm, hospitable, and soothing, but it incites feelings of preparedness, and appreciation.

Her effect... I filled three very big boxes of stuff to donate, and then I donated them. {Whoa! That last step. Miraculous. I know some of you will know what I am saying there.} I moved a chest that functions as a stash-junk-surface, and knee banger {Sorry, friends, for leaving that oversized beast where everyone got a turn to bruise themselves.} The chest is out, and this shelf is in. One third of the cookbooks are out, and the favored ones are on probation! Display. Tidy. Prepare. Plus PURGE! Every best intention I have for this new leaf I am turning begins with THE URGE TO PURGE.

One shelf, and a lot of motivation to make life simpler, brighter, lighter, neater, calmer, New Englander. It's a very, very, very small step on a decathlon-like journey. Normally, following the pattern of my entire life, I would be packing us to move. That's how it's always been, every 2, 3, or 4 years. Pack it all up, move, and start-over some place new. But we are home, now. And I am determined to learn how to live in my own home. And, as long as I am opening up with my personally challenging obstacles, and foibles, I will add... This is very hard emotionally. I am trying to confront my weaknesses, my shortcomings, the minor and distressing life-dramas that have sent me down dark paths, into apathy, mired beneath the heavy weight of uncertainty. Sad things. Sharp, piercing, mean thoughts, grains of doubt that have amassed into shifting dunes. Those parts of aging and being human, injuries, ailments, confrontations, that knocked me down... I seem to have lost some resilience, it takes longer to get up, again. And yes, I hesitate to declare that 'I am turning over new leaves,' because of those heavy doubts and shifting sands. They will, undoubtedly push me over, again. It's tempting to succumb, to pretend I am indifferent. You cannot fail what you don't attempt to begin with. But. No. I am turning over leaves, new ones, old ones, dear ones, and trying, once more, and another, afresh.

It feels heartening to have seen such beauty, to have been with Jennifer and Lauren, to have felt their energy, seen their spark and sincerity, sense of purpose. There's more to say, to reflect on, too, before I speak. Be prepared... Chickenblog will be scratching and pecking around these deep thoughts, other musings, and New Englander plans and notions, happily, for quite some time.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.


  1. Love the bookshelf and please keep sharing - I need some New Englander inspiration too! Keep going ...

    1. New Englander inspiration is good stuff!
      Thank you for the encouragement.

  2. It's a lovely and funny experience to see a home through someone else's eyes. Remember that you saw that garage full of boxes still unpacked, that studio where there's barely an inch of open space on the floor to stand. I need to settle in here, believe it's really home, sort and discard and display and arrange. Meanwhile I'm happy to think of you re-feathering the nest....

    1. Garage? Full of boxes? hmmmm.... I saw a loved home, two dedicated and hardworking people with great heaps of hospitality and generosity. I saw beautiful art, lovingly curated. I saw comfort, warmth, thoughtfulness, the tools of creativity, and countless inspiring ideas, sentiments, actions, reflections, and You. Could it be? If we could see ourselves, as we see each other... how much gentler our beliefs could be, how much easier to enjoy our accomplishments and still be inspired to go further? I recognize what you are saying about settling in, being home, because I am in that same place, too. But, know this: I am in awe, full of admiration of your integrity and diligence, of what is already good and evident in your home and life. You are my inspiration.


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