Busy work

Oh, I wanted to keep my mind outdoors—in the crazily ripening accidental tomatoes (they are ours twice removed, literally), in the too-long grass, in the crows hopping among the first authentic red-brown leaves of fall. But repeatedly my eyes fall to the living room floor and the two trays of my daughter’s childhood crafts junk I’ve put there to pick through– an auxiliary to TV-watching, I naively thought a few days ago. Somehow I’ve managed to watch only gripping British films and BBC serials in the last few days, and the tantalizing, annoying, mixture remains untouched, a still life a little crazier than but sharing major colors with fancy gelatin salads featuring suspended fruits inside. As a sworn recycler, I can’t just “throw it out”, but must unwind pipe-cleaners from plastic spoons and single chopsticks and donate or deposit everything separately. Some of these chopsticks–the spares from many meals at a single Chinese family restaurant–are carefully wrapped in gold lame ribbon. In the trays are eight kinds of stickers (including home-made ones reminding me of moon and stars cutouts on proverbial country outhouse doors), and 17 kinds of large beads. Some stickers are threaded through with gimp. There are pen caps and perfectly good crayons, shiny alphabet letters that don’t stick to anything and doll brushes, cutouts from art museum catalogs and sewing-store ads. On a trip downstairs just now, I noted a doll’s picture cut out of the packaging in a sun-burst shape. I shake my head and swear I will get down to business tomorrow. Would it make it easier to take it outside and lay it on a blanket under the winking autumn sun?


Hello world!

September 16, 2010

Time to notice the world appears as calm, sharp, sunshine through a cold window, and a blush at the top of maple trees–aren’t they supposed to wait a few weeks?  No, we will not turn the furnace on yet, though some would, and the cat keeps asking about it by parking his generous self on any dark appliance with a cord.  (He was looking into a large black ring binder last, but it didn’t have a plug, so he left harrumphing).  We don’t quite want to give in to socks either, though we are loathe to let go of our cozy pets–our shoes and slippers–now even inside the house.  This blog is going to be a couple of paragraphs per post from some moment during living, hearing, seeing, in mostly ordinary moments in central Maine.

Some years ago–my first year in Maine,when my lanky child was a toddler yanking at the hem of my sweater–I tried my first hand quilting on a yard-square scrap-salvage piece for my mother, and called it Winter Sunshine.  I quilted standing up in front of a pile of boxes by a window, and the latter poured in every day, surprising me so after a number of dreary grey winters in in a midwestern town.  The sunshine made me awake and warmed my hair and face, despite the grimness of the scene outside–“inner city” Maine, where borderline characters rode their snowmobiles up and down the sidewalk under the scowling brows of the police.