I am home from travel, from teaching and speaking for a while. I am treasuring, savoring this notion that I do have to go anywhere. That I can sink back into this lovely space that is my home—even my soul's home—for I love this nest along the Bay with all my heart. It is my heart.
But because I have been gone so much this fall, I've fallen behind on the housework. Dust bunnies play under the beds. Spiders commune in corners. It is time to clean it up a bit. And, today, my husband and I are even going to paint a long-neglected bathroom, whose ceiling and a wall are peeling in pain. They call for refreshment.
Gunilla Norris, author of Being Home: Discovering the Spiritual in the Everyday. I love this book. It changed me.
Her book is a beautiful offering of poetry around everyday "boring" tasks, with black and white photos to match: sweeping, making the bed, doing laundry, taking out the trash, ironing, and more.
This weekend as I begin to tend to the sacred cobblestones and corners of my home, I am keeping Ms. Norris' thoughts in mind:
Time to dust again.
Time to caress my house,
to stroke all its surfaces.
I want to think of it as lovemaking
...the chance to appreciate by touch
what I live with and cherish.
The rags come out—old soft pajama legs,
torn undershirts, frayed towels.
They are still of use.
It is precisely because they have exhausted
their original use that they have come
to this honorable task.
Rag in hand, I feel along each piece
of furniture I live with, and luster returns
to the old sideboard, to the chair legs
and the lamp stands. It is as if by touch
they are revealed and restored to themselves.
Strange that in the dumbness of inanimate things
one can feel so much silent response.
What then of us animate creatures?
We are so many-surfaced: bumpy, smooth,
prickly, rough, silky, hairy, spiny, soft, scaly,
furry, feathery, sharp, and on and on.
And don't we all want to be stroked in some way
...to be restored to ourselves by touch
as much as by sight or smell or sound?
I want to be a lover of surfaces all day today.
Let this be the prayer:
that my hands not be ashamed
to give and to receive a passionate exchange
...to luster and be lustered...and so come to feel Your inward touch.
(Excerpted from Being Home by Gunilla Norris)
I wonder ... how do you feel about your home and housekeeping?
Are you able to find the sacred in everyday tasks as Ms. Norris suggests?
I'm eager to hear ...
And give yourself a break from any chores that might be calling by listening to the author read a little bit from her work. Delightful!