a journal of...

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

A New Year

This time of year thou mayest in me behold...Order.   As if the first day of the new year clanged its bells, Organize!  Organize!, I begin routing, clearing, ordering and re-ordering, until I can't glance into a far corner of the least used closet without digging out the old and re-settling the new.  I wonder at the impulse, for that's what it is; otherwise, you could never call me obsessive about such house- and grounds-keeping, except for January.

It's true I'm a Capricorn; so the executive branch of my sign naturally comes out strongest now.  But it's also winter, time for all of nature to dig down, root in, and hide from sight, while it nourishes itself for the flowering to come three months hence.  Likewise, I, holing up inside in the chilly weather (a lot of dreary days this week helped), find endless chores left undone since last January. This year, I began by intending to clean up my desk, and set to work shuffling through accounts, balancing (well, I can dream) this year's budget, sorting receipts for tax season, and then attacking the files themselves to find a better way.  
a filing system?
That meant pulling everything out of closets and cabinets.  Moving room by room, an infection of efficiency burning through me, I entered each space, thinking of it as new territory to conquer.  I moved dishes, books, rugs, furniture, shelves (in the process uncovering hidden stashes of dust and a few spiders I thanked for their service and swept out the back steps, Dickinson-style); I dispatched, each to its separate doom, pencil stubs, an Uno game with cards missing, dried paint, graying plastic ware, burnt baking pans, belts I haven't worn since the 70's, and notes for appointments I may or may not have made back when.  

a clean cabinet
In yesterday's 60 degrees my energies took a turn outdoors.  I meant only to bring in two extra chairs for a dinner party I'm having, and found myself attacking the storage shed itself, then the cluttered area next to the shed, then the ivy patch beyond that, pulling out junk and raking leaves and gathering fallen limbs for collection.  In this new order I'd created, I walked back and forth like a surveyor, planning a small but significant expansion of the parking area, a neatening of the trash barrel cluster, and a new garden around the stump of the sugar maple cut down last spring.  And all of that would have been done by now if only I'd had instant access to a few truckloads of stone, dirt, mulch and bulbs (I did have some bulbs--thanks, Johanna!--but Alexander and I had planted them elsewhere the other day).  Also, it was getting dark.

garden in waiting
Winter purging, tedious as the idea of the task might seem, has its advantages well beyond the proud breath of accomplishment a Capricorn thrives on this one month a year.  One begins the calendar year with some sort of system, imagining it new and improved, and--even better--rediscovering exactly what one has.   Hitherto lost things become found objects...ah-hah!  that's where that is!   This morning it was a small sewing scissors under the knitting bag in the sitting room; yesterday it was twelve chopsticks that had slipped through a slit in the drawer (I've got to fix that drawer) and three custard cups peeking behind the pie pans, which, in consequence, got moved to where the paper bags used to be, while they in turn got moved to a rolling cart I pulled out of the coat closet where it was shamefully doing nothing. 

lost and found
Interestingly, though my studio is (not tidier, no, but) freshly open to new ideas, these days aren't open to work in it, I find.  I can edit or I can create; I can root or I can flower.  One precludes the other.  Soon though, all this tendency to order will wane, and I will return to normal life in the right brain.  I've already slowed down...this post is a kind of braking in itself...and awoke this morning imagining what I'd do with a lot of copper pieces I've been storing, some with really intriguing figures stained into them.  I'm looking forward to making a mess again.

             May your new year be clean and bright for as long as it takes to make peace with it.

1 comment:

  1. a good one to be sure!! So fun to read - tho' I do wish I had a little bit more of that organizing at home, but right now, I'm enjoying my organizational skills at the thrift store - a big warehouse to play in - I'm in heaven. I enjoyed vicariously living this blog :)