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Solace found in the clutter of home and far away

People are clamoring for spring, and I’m still in nesting mode. I’ve seen folks cleaning up their yards, sticks and paraphernalia from winter being burned on a pile out back.
I close my eyes as I pass them, remembering that I, only two weeks ago, took down the huge Santa that hung on the exterior of my garage. Right now I have a massive, flocked Christmas tree perching on my front porch, all because I couldn’t let my friend toss it. She knows who she is.
My house is a sensory feast of small, collected items and is currently overloaded with things from Mom’s house. This winter has been one of clutter: going through her things and intermingling them with mine.
I’ve been choosy in the things I’ve selected with a slew of glasses here and a feeding of my predilection for bowls. I chose green nesting bowls, pottery bowls, Pyrex bowls and tin bowls. If there was a bowl, I chose it, and Mom had a lot of bowls.
There were moments I wasn’t proud of where I couldn’t let ratty Tupperware glasses go to the thrift store because I remembered how many times I drank milk out of them in her kitchen. Or the stacks of pretty paper napkins she bought, stacking up in their crinkly plastic wrappers deep inside a cupboard, I’m now using them every day, as she only held on to them for special occasions.
There were, and still are, so many things to go through that we’ll divide and bring home, nestling them amongst my own decor. My home is tiny, but there’s always room for more, especially in the writing room I’m creating.
I can’t wait for the lush, velvet getaway I’m planning. A few tchotchkes from Mom will fit right in. Did I tell you I brought home her huge vintage projector screen for viewing slides? I couldn’t let that go.
Spring is coming, and even though I’m still padding my nest and reveling in the cool weather, I know it will arrive, whether I’m ready or not. My perennial garden, which is culled from every single one of Mom’s plants, is begging to burst forth. Will I look at it differently this year because she’s gone?
I used to see only toil in it and a garden so big and full that I cried every time a new weed reared its ugly head. I still see work in the very gentle curves and lines that she helped me lay out. My voice was ever mum on the reality that I didn’t want such a big garden, and I didn’t know how to tell her that I didn’t love gardening like she did.
Her insistence that I take every single hosta and lily she had to give was most likely a blind wish that I’d have a passion for what she did. I found the voice to tell her when the garden she had gifted me was rooted deep and strong, flowers climbing high at the height of summer.
By then it was too late, and how I wished I had told her sooner and we could’ve enjoyed other things together. Gardening was never to be one of them, though I’m betting I’ll hear her whispering through the shrubs and grasses she gave me, summer breeze and sun on my face as I perch on a chair in the back yard watching them grow.
I gaze forlornly at my front yard, sticks scattered by the winter wind, the massive tree in the front yard desperately needing a good topping at least halfway back, several branches dead and pocked with holes. It’s a mess, especially in spring and fall.
Soon I’ll find myself out there plucking up bits and bobbles of that tree, muttering under my breath as my wheelbarrow grows full. I love my home and its greenery, but as I climb toward a milestone in age this year, I know I don’t want to spend every spring, summer and fall moment making sure it’s relentlessly tidy.
It was instilled in me to do so, and I’m as picky as they come when it comes to neatly mowed lines and concisely edged garden beds. I find beauty and solace in my small, cluttered home — inside and out — and most days I’m a work-from-home soul who finds her peace there.
Other days I long for what lies far away from here, wondering when the day will come that I can do both.

Published: March 12, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180309928