Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Make Joy

The healthroom is almost almost complete. So close! For me, the hardest part was making paint and tile choices, but now comes the second hardest (slowest) part and that's putting everything back togethter! All of the things that were in the bathroom were packed, and shuttled and crammed into our bedroom, mostly, and then I spent weeks and weeks pretending that none of it was a problem... not messy, dusty, stressful, cluttered, trip-hazardy, nada. Now I am in restoration mode, and I am slow, but at least I am being intentional... I am deep cleaning, purging, trying to be mindful about what stays and what goes, and so, I hope that when I get things in order, and looking good, they will be genuinely good, organized, only the "brings me joy" things will remain. I want to confess that "I am embarrassed about my pace, about the extent of the dust and stuff," but life has been one thing after another, and suddenly, I am older, injured/pained, slower, a bit pandemic stunted, and the kindest thing I could do is say, "Ok. But I am still trying."

Say hello to Reginald. Reginald, Fairie Saint of Self-Regard. I am certain that this dapper llama would have only kind and patient things to say about how I ought address myself, what phrases and expressions I utter when contemplating my existence, worth, and self-view. Oh, and say hello to my chamomile! Didn't I say I want to grow chamomile, to have enough to cut and bring inside? Haven't I dreamt of the day, and sighed aloud, to have a garden, and flowers, and a home of our own? How ever do I manage to get down and muddled in my thinking, when there are flowers growing outside my kitchen window, and a blue arched niche, where I can set a pitcher of soothing blossoms? There is dust here, and stashes of things I need to manage, and chipped plates, and clothes that need mending, and sometimes, really quite often, I find something more compelling to do than sort my books by color. I am so fortunate.
I am very happy to share that one of William's many projects is complete! The two sinks in our primary bathroom were taken out, and could have gone to a landfill, but I had this hare-brained idea about them being nest boxes, and William took me at my word! You guys, look what he did!
The pitched roof, and paint! We kept the hardware in. I was his assistant when he was squaring it all up for the roof. He added the fence boards, so they would have privacy from the goats, a little more coziness. I love the green paint, which is the same paint he's using to finish the cart. Naturally, the goats were the most interested in the new furniture, especially Grace. The chickens lay most of their eggs in the goats's hay manger, so it's only fair that the goats might eat from the hen's nest boxes.
I planted an egg in the nest, to give the hens the idea. Then I planted a hen on the nest boxes to give them even more hints, but Willow did not catch on. It will take time. If they never take to it, I might plant herbs in the sinks, or employ the whole thing in a roadside stand where I sell art and eggs, lemons, passionfruit, chamomile, and tacos.

The days go on. No one needs me to mention war, to link to climate change perils, or count the dead from COVID. It has been one thing after another, and then some. We need a vacation. I bet you need a vacation! It's been too much, and how many times have I said that since... 2016? Complaining, even listing the hardships, is a strange thing. Some people do it so readily, and even seem to elicit support, empathy, a good-humored laugh in solidarity. I keep biting my tongue, surpressing, downplaying, hoping I will be cured by optimism, relieved by denial. And the days go on. I would have lost the bet on things getting better. Thank goodness I come across words and expressions that help me live with all of this... this harrowing stuff of war and hate, of racsim, disease, distrust, and too, the indescribable beauty of an egg, and painted walls, cut flowers, of friends sitting around a campfire, in relative peace.

"I am washing my face before bed

while a country is on fire.

It feels dumb to wash my face

and dumb not to.

It has never been this way

and it has always been this way.

Someone has always clinked a

cocktail glass in one hemisphere as

someone loses a home in another,

while someone falls in love in the

same apartment building where

someone grieves. The fact that

suffering, mundanity and beauty

coincide is unbearable and

and remarkable.

~Mari Andrew

An egg! In the nest box! Remarkable. What good and clever hens. This one someone did all on her own.

Wherever you are, whether safe and content, or struggling, or both, I hope you find an egg in a nest, or that you can paint a wall, eat a delicious orange, hold a baby, put on clean socks. I hope that you find a YouTube channel that makes you laugh until your sides ache, or that you share a phone call with a friend, and it makes the day feel lighter, more promising. Good things are better shared.

The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil is interesting. This is the treason of the artist; a refusal to admit the banality of evil and terrible boredom of pain." ~Ursula K. Le Guin

Take joy... look for it, and exclaim, and share it, make more of it, make more of it than seems necessary, because joy is essential. I should paint these words on every wall, or at least keep them close at hand, and ready to slay the foes of art and happiness.

Bird House Notes: I have been sitting here for ten minutes trying to think of something to chirp about. I'd like it to be something current, but not devastating, not like the news headlines, and I'd like to be personal, so I am not divulging other people's big announcements, new life chapters. I would like to not whine, or grieve, or shudder. I made a tasty sandwich, with a deep stack of lettuce leaves, a hint of mustard. We are out of sprouts. If someone asked, though, "How are you?" I would sputter, with simulated confidence, like Han Solo, "Everything's under control, situation normal. We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?" March 7, 2022


Nicole MacPherson said...

That poem is exactly right.

On another note, I love Reginald! And the chamomile. That room is going to be wonderful.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Reginald makes me smile! So does the chamomile. Thank you, Nicole... you are reminding me to get back to it, and get the room to a finished state of wonderful!

Little Dorrit does... said...

Joy IS essential. Grace playing washing up in the re-purposed sink nests made me smile, and I'm painting our little back hallway a lovely pigeon-breast warm grey. Can't wait to see the healthroom reveal. Love the little alcove. x

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

OH! She's "washing up!" I love that you saw Grace that way... such a darling idea! I'm a little too close to her mischief and I missed seeing it in such a cute way. In fact, last night Grace's mischief escalated... she made a clear leap over the white picket fence meant to keep goats out of the hen yard!
I want to see what pigeon-breast warm grey looks like in your hallway. Paint color names can make it or break it for me, and this name sounds lovely.

Ruth said...

Nest box sinks--great idea and execution. Is that a metal roof? Very fashion-forward. Looks like the chickens will come to appreciate them in time.

Love the Mari Andrew life-is-a-paradox poem. Thank the Universe for linty cats, beautiful birds that cluck, chamomile, good reads, driveway happy hours....they help with balance.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh, we are all about the metal roofs, here. Remember, Alex worked for Addison Sheet Metal! William did such a good job on the nest box & shelter! It really is darling.
Driveway happy hours, yes! And so much more. We are fortunate.