A week without blogging! I’m sorry, guys. Between unpacking, scrubbing, trash hauling, and exhaustion (not to mention the library’s limited hours, which limit my wifi), I haven’t had it in me. I thought about blogging several times. But I figured you really wouldn’t be interested in my observations on greasy kitchen lamps or the incredibly strange mechanisms that open (or actually don’t open) old-fashioned garage doors. That’s about all that’s been on my mind the last week.
I’m starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel now. But this week is all about article deadlines, so don’t expect great things of me.
However … toward the end of this week, the articles should be done, home Internet service should be hooked up, and I hope to be brilliant again.
Well … adequate again. So thank you for your patience. In the meantime, I’ve managed to come up with one house-inspired thought that does manage to squeak above the mundane. Without further ado, here it is.
The people who sold me this house are, by all testimony, the sweetest people in several universes. The furniture they left has been a godsend, making me feel at home even before I’m fully unpacked. And of course I get a kick out of the little reminders that they’re Backwoods Home people, gun owners, preppers, and Bill of Rights supporters, just like me.
But there’s one way in which they and I couldn’t be more different. Here’s one example of it:
Yes, that’s a tennis shoe. Hanging on a fence. In fact, it’s a tennis shoe filled with dirt hanging on a fence. It’s a planter, although nothing’s growing in it at the moment.
The house, and more especially the yard, are a wonderland of little make-dos and oddball creativity. Here’s more:
Tea pots are a big feature of the backyard decor. So are air filters from some humongous piece of equipment. The filters are everywhere — used as tea pot stands, waste baskets, and flower pots. The yard was also filled with plastic toy boats until (sorry, sellers), I put them into the haul-away heap. And yes, that’s an old bathtub, there on the right. It’s filled with garlic.
Here’s one of the quieter corners of the yard after I cleared it of much of its stuff.
Though the yard is small to begin with, it’s divided into even more intimate spaces, each with its own quirky personality. There are ponds, giant bird cages, wind chimes, fishing nets, floats, tall plant stands made out of cast-iron industrial piping, miniature lighthouses, birdhouses, baskets, shells, sand dollars, a gazing ball, three wishing wells (that I’ve found so far), and a complete veggie garden (albeit one so small that it has only one or two or at most three or four plants of any given type).
But really, this isn’t about the house and yard. I promise. It’s about chaos. And embracing it. Or not.
I love this yard — especially now that I’ve denuded it of some of its broken and faded gee-gaws. It enchants me. I like sitting in it and wandering around it. But never in the world would I do a yard like this. I’d be more into a yard that was a vast expanse of well-groomed emptiness, with perhaps one lawn chair and a firepit. Same with the house interior. I’ve always admired the classical Japanese look from all those Kurosawa films, with basically no furniture, a few mats, nothing on the walls, and everything tucked away behind sliding doors.
I read once — it may be complete BS, but it makes sense — that people with chaotic minds crave that kind of simplicity, while people with calm minds can enjoy an environment of happy chaos — just like my new backyard. I think there’s plenty of reason to believe that the folks who owned this house before I did were more easy-going and happy than I. Not that they had better lives; several people have hinted that they were sometimes taken cruel advantage of. Just that they had a different, and more peaceful, outlook on life.
Also, while I’m “officially” creative, being a writer and all, they’re the kind of people who could envision an old shoe as a planter and an ornament, while I’d never see it as more than … and old shoe. They’d see possibilities. I’d see only a bit of trash, to be disposed of as quickly as possible.
My point in all this (and yes, there really is one) is that I think people who can embrace chaos — and even make it their own — are generally happier, and certainly better survivors, than people like me. People who envision a shoe as a planter, an elderly tea pot as a garden ornament, or an air filter as a table, are more likely to be able to turn lemons into lemonade in hard times. Not to mention turn old scrap into machinery or trade goods if TSHTF. Besides, the world is filled with chaos, like it or not. Saner to embrace it than to fight or deny it.
Me, I’m second-rate. But I could learn from these people.
Here’s a sort of a backyard shrine they created:
I don’t know what was originally at the center of this odd domestic altar. Maybe a little pirate ship; that would be a good guess. Whatever it was, they took it with them. So this time I added the tea pot. Why? Because it was there …