Childhood’s End?

Writers are agents against chaos.  Those of you who read this blog frequently know that chaos has been one of my themes lately.  Moving, which is a process that takes months and months of time, is pure chaos.  Whenever I settle down to write, yet another moving-related task comes to me—this box needs to be unpacked, that gap in the fence must be mended, where did I put the toolbox?  Mundane things.  Writers like to think the world conforms, somehow, to their inner lives.  In reality, things are far more complex than that and don’t seem to be getting any easier.  Starting to learn about house ownership is something best left for the young, I suspect.  Every question (where should we put the television?) leads to a daisy-chain of other issues (but first we need to move that hutch, but it’s too heavy for either of us to lift, etc.).

In ancient times water symbolized chaos.  Before we left on vacation, the main issue was to get all boxes off the floor in the garage.  We haven’t had time to move them safely inside yet, what with planning for vacation and all, so plastic became the order of the day.  We do need, however, to get things inside eventually.  A slow process for two middle-aged people with full-time jobs, even without jet lag.  Writing feels like a luxury item, for what is most required is time—time to move things to their proper places.  Time to figure out what those proper places are.  Time to go to work again.

Had we thought this through, we might’ve used vacation this year to unpack.  We bought our plane tickets, however, before we bought the house.  This latter transaction is one of chaos embodied.  Who knew, for example, that the grass had to be cut so often?  That all roofs leak?  That chaos is constant, and not intermittent?  In biblical times, one of the signs of God’s greatness was the ability of the Almighty to hold chaos in constant check.  The waters were always lurking, looking for any opening—except when you need rain and it just won’t come.  Sitting here writing feels like the giddy irresponsibility of childhood where there’s so much to get done and so little time in which to do it.  And neighbors don’t appreciate the lawn being mowed before the sun is properly out of bed.  The renter pays a price for living with, for at least some stretches of time, chaos-free maintenance.  The home-owner quickly learns that any time left over for writing feels like being irresponsible, and a little bit divine.

4 thoughts on “Childhood’s End?

  1. Brent Snavely

    Normalcy for one may seem to be chaotic to another (’45’ seems to be proof of this) and since water comprises much of our bodies, what does that say about us?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeremiah Andrews

    Hey Steve,
    Ms.Jackson, one junior high math teacher, used to say to us, prior to a test was this: “Time is a precious commodity, once wasted it can never be regained.” I still remember those words today.
    Taking time for ones self is important, even if it feels wrong. If e don’t sustain our spirits and our talents, both will wither on the vine. When it comes to chores at home, (when I lived at home) followed a certain logic. Cleaning the house, i.e. vacuuming, washing floors, etc, were done often. Food shopping when necessary, preparing food on the other hand was needed daily. Working the yard and lawn always fell on weekends. Nothing gave me more pleasure than to get out and mow the grass, I walked yards for a long time, prior to us getting a riding mower late in high school.
    Mowing the grass is a meditative practice. Setting the depth of the mower, walking the circuitous path of grass, keeping note that you were not over mowing the path you just walked. Me thinks you really need to secure your library sooner than later. I would devote an hour a day to this work, to get it done, even if it impinges on your nightly routine after work. Books are sacred and should be preserved at any cost.
    You will find your rhythm it will take some time to figure out how “Home and Garden works for you and your wife.” But if you look at in in terms of meditative celebration, creating House and Home begins with one room. If each of you begin with one room, together you will create the home.



    • Thanks, Jeremy.

      I hadn’t thought of lawn mowing as a kind of labyrinth–that’s helpful. We inherited a house with a lawn requiring attention and we have one of those old-fashioned hand-powered mowers. I’ve learned they aren’t intended for overgrown lawns! Once we get things cut down to size, I’m sure a routine will follow.

      Meditation is very important, and I’m trying to find space for it in my new schedule. It will come, I’m sure. Right now it’s a matter of staying ahead of the weather, which has been rainier than usual for this time of year.

      I’ll soon move on to other topics.


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