Oddments

In search of story


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Musings on wild life: February 1.18

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!

That, as you may remember, was my mother’s incantation on the first of every month. I’m not sure why except for the twelve rabbits’ feet involved.

I am not enamored of rabbits, as you know if you’ve read my blog for a while. They are the garden’s Visigoths and nothing can withstand their onslaught. Here, in the wee hours of one winter morning, by the light of the lamppost, I spotted one of their kind. It was huge. And obviously reconnoitering. Duly noted, you furry pig!

I am equally not enamored of Canadian geese, as you also know from my blog. They, however, are enamored of this retention pond. Why Mother Nature, who came up with the song of the lark and the wren, invented the honk of the goose is explainable only in terms of her caustic sense of humor.

Then, of course, the ants. Oh, they keep on a-comin’. At first in my desk. Now along the baseboard and up through the furnace vent in the dining room. Yesterday I was out in the cold mud dousing the side of my new house with Home Defense. In January? Really?

Having lived in California, I know about ants, which there put earthquakes to shame in terms of intimidation. They come like an undertow and pull you to your knees.

But this is Indiana, which, though definitely ant-ridden, usually doesn’t let the little rotters out mid-winter.

And have you ever noticed how observing ants can make you itch?

Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, dear reader!

 

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Musings on place: January 29.18

Life in a new place has an edge to it. Every day taunts you with your confusions. You never choose right the first time: that first drawer or cabinet door you open is inevitably the wrong one. Whatever you’re looking for is somewhere else.

You mutter at the builder, who put the pantry next to the refrigerator. It is his fault that you put the eggs in the pantry and the aluminum foil in the refrigerator.

You are grateful for the handy little storage closet, but you cannot seem to navigate it without a ricochet off that lower shelf.

Then one week that edge seems smoother, and you wonder if indeed that is so. Are you really opening the right drawer the first time? Are you no longer finding the paper towels in the freezer? Are you actually retrieving the hammer from the closet without dinging your head?

You allow yourself to take a deep breath and acknowledge that, yes, there is the slightest sense of routine seeping back into your life. Yes, there are still things in storage and much more to be done, but there does seem to be a smoothing of the edge. Ahhhh….

And then, incredulous, you see them: ants! In January! On your desk! Did they hitchhike in from the storage unit? Did they come from outside, enlivened by those warm days last week? Do you care? No! You just want a cannon to blast them out.

You hear them snickering, and you know the edge is still there.

 

p.s. The black and blue of this post has some ironic meaning, I’m sure, but I have no idea why the two colors happened. Probably the doings of the ants.


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Connections: January 5.18

About walls.

As you know, I’m new here. I have lived here not quite two months. Two insane months. My housewarming gift from Mother Nature has been a gorgeous, dangerous cold. She has shut me in.

Being shut in has put me in close communion with my new walls. Have you noticed, dear reader, how walls differ? It isn’t just the color; it’s size and height and the way they join hands or don’t.

My wall jewelry is — ahem — eclectic. My last house was 3400 square feet; this one is 2000. Even I can do that math. Placement must be judicious.

Since I have not had them painted yet, my walls offer particular possibilities. I am Columbus and these walls are the flat unexplored world. I can try this and try that; if it’s awful, I can take it down and the holes which tell the story of my bad ideas will be plugged and painted.

(Would that the history of all my bad ideas were so nicely disclaimed!)

Two days ago I hung three botanical prints I love. They look awful. They were perfect in the same arrangement in my old house. Here, awful. The space is so different. And space must be carefully sculpted. The walls might be flat, but the whole is multi-dimensional. A plain wall can be the best. Or tedious. A beautiful print can be just as tedious. Where do things go? Ah, the cry of the newly-moved.

In the Grand Scheme, my walls do not meet the lowest bars of significance. Perhaps that’s why I am so compelled by them: in some peevish way in an overwhelming world, I decide.

 

 

Connections


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Connections: December 23.17

A plate of Christmas cookies

is so much more than that

it’s a serving of family history

forebears’ concordat

it’s Grandma’s recipe card

in her distinctive hand

it’s Mom’s poinsettia plate

generational ampersand

connecting younger fingers

with those gone long before

sweet and sticky memories

toothsome family lore.

 

 

Connections