Tag Archives: riverofstones

Small stones: The last stone

SchuykillExpresswayJanuaryIceFromRockBlack rock abrim with
Water that seeps to cold air,
Turning to white rock.

This photo was taken along the Schuylkill Expressway – the main road into Center City Philadelphia from the west. The Expressway is built in a notch hacked (or more likely blasted) out of the high, steep southern bank of the Schuykill River. Where the bedrock is exposed, water oozes out of the rock, and in winter it freezes into miniglaciers on the rock face.

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Small stone 6: Weather forecast

Snow showers, they told us yesterday. Expect an illusion, the look of something falling, something that vanishes as if it never was.

Midnight and snow

Midnight and snow

All evening and all night flecks of whiteness dropped through the air. They couldn’t resist us, our houses and yards and streets, our world. They wanted to stay. So they did.

Lavender in the Snow

Lavender in the Snow

The sun set last night on faded winter beige. It rose today on a different world, bleached to white, punctuated by black stones and gray-green lavender. Winter’s here.

Small stone 5: Impossible.

It isn’t the flu.
No, it can’t be the flu.
My shoulders don’t ache
And I had my shot, too.

I don’t have the flu.
No, I won’t have the flu.
It drags on so long;
I have so much to do.

But I’m coughing all night
And I’m coughing all day
And I’m so very tired
And it won’t go away
Not whatever I do…
do you think it’s the flu?

Small stone 4: 3 a.m.

It’s dark, it’s quiet. Why am I awake?

Oh, that’s right. I have to cough. Again.

What time is it, anyway? That early? How can I be awake after only two hours of sleep? I’ll just lie here until the world fades out.

No. Cough. No, I won’t. Cough. Cough.

You know, I’m not having a good January.

Small stone # 3: For yesterday

I’ve been disturbing the dust, picking up things that have lain comfortably in one place for months, sorting through them, moving them to different locations, even throwing them away. The poor neglected dust particles were left to float through the air and search for new homes…and some of them relocated to my sinuses. Pain in my cheekbones. Pain in my forehead just to either side of the bridge of my nose. Pain. I think my sinuses want a divorce.

Small stones #2: Gloves

Through this past spring and summer and fall, I didn’t remember where I left my winter gloves. If I thought about them at all, I assumed I had left them in a coat pocket.

Then it got cold. My hands got blotchy red and the skin over my knuckles cracked so that it hurt to wash my hands or bend my fingers. And the gloves weren’t in my coat. Or my rain jacket. Or my old battered jacket I wear to shovel snow. Or anyplace reasonable.

And practically everything I did made my hands hurt.

So, having looked everyplace a reasonable woman would put her gloves when the weather turned warm, I started looking in unreasonable places. And there they were, out of sight behind a pile of books. Ah, the joy of pulling gloves on over my poor sore knuckles before walking out into January.

What IS a pack rat to do?

Add a table, chair, and shoe holders here? How?

Seriously.

One of my projects this year is to get rid of all the stuff in my house that we don’t use – sometimes because we can’t find it – and find ways that make sense to store the rest. And looking good would be nice, but let’s not boldly go too far from the household comfort zone.

Of course, one category of stuff I’ve bought far too often is books of advice on becoming organized. None of these books solved the problem; but is that the authors’ fault, or mine?

A reasonable guess would be that I’m more to blame than the people who write advice books. So I decided to take the first one I could find and spend a month doing everything it tells me to do. (FWIW, my source of decluttering wisdom turned out to be What’s a (dis)Organized Person to Do? by Stacey Platt. I’d call it a fairly typical specimen of this kind of book.)

The first chapter – “General Principles” – sounds promising. Alas, it’s only eight pages long, with lots of white space. Worse, Platt makes several good points but doesn’t seem to realize that some of us need advice on HOW to apply them. I especially like “Live within your space means”, but! I’ve been overspending my space (a Kindle’s nice, but I could still use a Tardis) for many years. I need someone to explain how to efficiently clear away the mountains of stuff – but I already know I can’t swallow the ruthless “just throw it out, you shouldn’t want it” approach that a friend tried to make me use.

(No, I’m not out of control enough to be entertainingly pilloried on one of those TV shows about hoarders. Just far enough out of control to make life way too complicated.)

Well, never mind. I’m going to follow the room by room advice if it kills me, and by the last page my home will be a showplace. Right?

Not so fast. Platt starts with the entryway, and wants us to organize that area with prettily matching hangers in the coat closet, a table or shelf to hold keys, cell phone, mail, and more, “containers for hats, scarves, and gloves; boot and shoe storage; a place to sit.” Suuure. I’ve got fifteen inches / thirty-eight centimeters of free space next to my front door. That’s not going to hold all that extra furniture.

And the four and a half feet (135 cm) wide floor space in my kitchen isn’t going to hold a butcher-block island and the kitchen table she suggests either. What was all that about living within your space budget?

I don’t mean to jump on Platt, or not very hard. Her book is typical of the genre. On the other hand, I’m not about to rush out and buy a bigger house so I can follow her advice.

I guess I’m on my own. 😦