I am puttering around in spirals today. This is a very typical work pattern for me that can drive linear thinkers (like my beloved Spouse) absolutely nuts.

What happens is something like this:

I go out in the yard because it’s not hot yet and I’ve been meaning to do stuff. I pull a few weeds. I realize I want the scissors to trim dead flower heads.

I go in the house to get the scissors from the kitchen. En route I notice some scarves hanging on the staircase that need to go down into the basement. I pick them up and go down the basement stairs and hang them in the off-season closet.

While the basement closet is open, I pull some boxes in and out and gather up an armful of clothes that I haven’t worn in a couple of years, to bring them up to the porch and put them in the box for the next rummage sale. (We have an ongoing “next rummage sale” box on the porch that periodically gets donated to the Boy Scouts or the UU church, depending on who is next having one.)

When I get back to the front porch with the clothes I remember wanting the scissors to dead-head the flowers, and I go back into the kitchen.

I somehow bypass the kitchen and go sit in the chair in the back sunroom, where all the art supplies have migrated from the basement, many months ago when it was too cold to paint downstairs. Perhaps I put a few touches on a work in progress, or maybe I sign and finish something that’s been lingering around unfinished since last winter, when I last made time to paint. I look out the window at the dense green summer wall that was a lacy mesh of winter branches last time I looked there. I realize that what this canvas wants is collage, but all the art paper is upstairs where I last used it.

I go upstairs and dislodge the cat from the computer (she sleeps on it; I think because it is warm) and look to see what’s happened on FaceBook. A post from a friend reminds me that I really need to look at my calendar and figure out what assignment is due next for CPE, or perhaps that I ought to make travel arrangements for some upcoming event. And then there is the daily jigsaw, and the sudoku… and I realize that I am bored with that and need to do laundry. Which I gather up to take down to the basement.

Except that when I get to the kitchen I remember that I wanted the scissors, to dead-head the spent daffodils in the front yard…

And so it goes, today, and my other days off. Lots of things being half done in tiny increments. Eventually, somehow, most of the important parts get done. The papers get written – with lots and lots of reminders to myself that there are next steps; I probably talk about doing them a lot more than I actually do them. The weeds get pulled and the shrubs get trimmed and the lawn gets mowed… eventually. And there is always laundry in some stage of the process.

I am learning to accept that this is just how I get things done; that the fluid mosaic of a pebble beach is also a legitimate way of being earth. We are not all granite monoliths nor need we be. We are not all straight timber but winding vines and swaying grasses also have worth. It goes deeper than not needing to be perfect; I am beginning to sense – if not to grasp – that the aggregate of countless imperfections is far greater, more beautiful, more resilient, more holy than any single perfect whole.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go back to the kitchen and get the scissors and go into the front yard and dead-head last month’s daffodils. Or something like that.

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One Response to Spirals

  1. Andrew Evans says:

    This reminds me of Laura Numeroff’s awesome kids’ books: Give a Mouse a Cookie, Give a Pig a Pancake, Give a Moose a Muffin, Give a Dog a Donut, etc.

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