October 8, 2006

Sunrise, Sunset

The house we lived in prior to this one had three levels. Our bedroom was on the top floor. The master bathroom was small, yet perfect in function. Its best feature was the window overlooking the backyard. We used to hang out that window and smoke cigarettes.

I leaned comfortably on my elbows, my forehead on the sash, usually a book or magazine resting on the sill, the smoke from my cigarette drifting away discreetly. I miss that window.

I smoked off and on during the five years we lived in that house, but mostly on. Evidently I'm addicted. I used to spy on the neighbors behind us. Couldn't be helped, really. Sometimes I liked to look around while hanging out the window smoking cigarettes.

I often watched the man behind us do chores in his yard. He was a fairly young man, clean cut, father of three. Once I observed him deconstructing tree branches that had fallen during a particularly nasty storm. The man always moved like he was encased in a bubble of molasses. Each move was painfully deliberate and slow in motion. Efficient, I suppose, in his own way, as he eventually got the job done. But geez. From my comfortable smoking perch on the third floor, my imagination conjured up a leather whip to crack over his head while shouting, "Get moving, man! You haven't got all day!"

But maybe he did have all day. Who was I to say? I dropped my cigarette butt into the toilet, flushed, then re-entered my own world.

I thought about him today as I worked in the yard. 'Tis the season to turn the summer pile of tree debris into a neat stack of kindling for the fireplace. I had all day to do it. I moved slowly, deliberately, without great sense of purpose and zero urgency. Much like our old neighbor.

My kindling project today was just busy work. Brainless busy work. Minimal physical labor to get me moving, to keep me moving. Snapping little twigs and branches into appropriate fireplace lengths is satisfying. Every so often I'd get gouged or scratched by those branches and twigs, which aroused an idle curiosity when I almost appreciated the pain.

I told my friend Tina that I am in a mood. She didn't ask me to define it. It's just the mood I get in when things are happening around me over which I have no control.

There is no control. No task that can be done to fix or repair or resolve. No 'if I just apply myself, get off my lazy ass and do it' results to be had, no tangible 'if I just put my mind to it, the problem will be gone' solution. There's just hanging out. Waiting.

I thought about that while I snapped twigs and made piles.
The weather was beautiful.
I sure made an impressive mound of kindling.
And for today, that's gotta be enough.



Middle Girl said...

Whittling. I've never known anyone who whittled, but I'm getting images of *gramps* sittin & whittlin-keeping his hands busy and his mind empty-but full.

What needs doing, will be known and will get done-when the time comes.

In the meantime, it's grand to be busy, be prepared and be warm.

weese said...

these are good projects for you right now.
preparing the wood is keeping you from being idle. and you know... idle is not what you want to be right now.
its also not terribly strenuous - tho, at times terribly strenuous can be good too.
there is the quick satisfaction of the tidy pile you have created.
this satisfaction later revisited as the wood is needed.
then of course there is the fire.
which is why you started this all in the first place.
where there is smoke there is fire...

Gina said...

I am with you in the "mood."

But I don't even have a pile of kindling to show for it. Just a pile of laundry. Unfolded.

Anonymous said...

3 days.... that is when I will begin to busy myself with projects big and small. I move in 3 days.

Take care Suzanne.