It’s been a quiet week in…

…the backwoods of North Carolina. The quiet seems to be settling into my bones, finally. I haven’t turned the radio on all day, am instead enjoying listening, with nearly every window in the house open, to the mocking bird singing from the top of the wild cherry tree I park the car beside. Every now and then I hear a quail calling from the woods behind the tobacco barn, and a dove closer to the house. There are dozens of bird calls I don’t recognize, all around me. Amazing to hear them so clearly, and only occasionally a car approaching on the highway. After being in a city, I think of the farm as “quiet,” although in reality it is a very noisy place.

The summer is speeding right along. As I sort through the shed, which is where I’m writing these days (a picnic table is a perfect size for a desk!), and the trailer, pulling odd bits of accumulated clutter from the past fifteen years, I feel as if I am also performing a spiritual exercise of discarding hurts, disappointments, resentments, old outgrown dreams, and bad habits that have cluttered my mind for too long. Saturday I picked up a jar of odd metal bits that Rusty had left behind – unidentifiable to me and evidently unimportant to him since he’d neglected to include them in the “important” things he’d cleared from the house, three years ago… I’ve been hanging on to that jar, thinking I might discover what these odd pieces of metal are and that they might come in handy for something some day… as I dropped the jar into the trash bag, I felt a little lighter in heart for disposing of one more item with surprisingly toxic associations.

I cling to the most absurd things in the expectation that they could be useful some day, or that if I discard them I’ll be amputating some important part of myself in the process. On the other hand, I once took boxes of books to a used bookstore because Rusty insisted I “never” looked at them, and at the time I couldn’t imagine using them again; I’ve spent an obscene amount of money this past year trying to replace many of those books, which I have needed in my work.

Hmmm… mediations on the spiritual exercises of housecleaning?

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