I am learning never to underestimate the worth of living in beauty. In a way it knits together many of the themes in my thoughts these days, so it is a good place to begin, because it will help me gather up the ideas — like useful weeds, to be piled up out of the way for future use as fertilizer. Why write if not to help myself grow?
What is beauty then, that it makes me live a better life? I think it is, most of all, Light. Sunshine, and the breezes that must come if one can see the sun. The warm glow of a huge harvest moon, that turns cool white as it rises over my pillowed head. And my pores drink in all the light, greedily, inspiring my hands to rest still, so the light has swift time to seep into my heart, making my mind feel wider — more spacious.
As I feel more openness within me, my eyes can take in more. A small, heavy grain of truth dropped in through them as I sat in the rocking chair by the window: When I live in the light, it shows me how much dust and dirt are accumulating around me. But when I can see the dirt clearly it is so much easier to clean it away. Of reasons to live in the light, maybe this is the most important. Deeper lessons can be learned even from housekeeping.
There is also a humble contribution to beauty in the keeping of a home — one not to be underestimated because of its humbleness. And for me, for now, the gift of having a cottage to keep soothes the restlessness of ambition. Whatever of that I may have is a thought for a different day.
There is, too, a sense of stability that comes with the privacy of having a space of one’s own to fill. And to fill as one chooses now that ‘school is out’, and learning is back on my own terms again. A stability of space and time into which I can expand, in which I can breathe more fully. And if I can breathe more fully, perhaps I can exhale more beautifully in song? With less irrational fear of other, outside, judging ears, maybe I can learn to listen less harshly to myself . The light might help me see that dust, too, so I may direct my broom to sweep it away, rather than stirring it up into my own eyes and lungs by the dragging of my feet. And as I sweep the dust away, the path may reappear to the simple innocence of child-me singing a song alone, up a tree, for none but the Air and my own joy.
Yes, there is a certain indisputable safety in solitude for me. In the beginning, after all, it was the safety and sunshine that made me sing. There is, too, satisfaction in knowing I have space here to grow things when I choose — hands and feet in earth. That desire, too, is rooted deep in my childhood, and is a great big part of what beauty is to me: ability to have a humble hand in creation, by weeding and cultivating.
Of course, amidst all these joys, there will still be moments when I resent the light for the things it exposes; the work it reminds me so subtly, but unwaveringly, that I must do. But would I prefer to live in the damp, dusty ‘comfort’ of unaware complacency? No. I have grown a deeper self-respect than that.
So, shine bright upon my dustiness, Friend Sun, and I will do my part whilst singing thanks.
Tuesday, 17 September 2019 - Red Hook Cottage