Saturday, January 31, 2015


It seems to be a hard month, hard like a cold hard frost, this January… but I like the coldly dispassionate end of the old so cleanly cut on December 31st, such a clear finish to the insanity of the celebration gone amuck.  It is an empty office space, an empty warehouse awaiting its potential bustle.  

The maker of empty spaces is what I call myself in my interior conversations, my interests lie in emptying out, throwing out.  In my Depression-era heart, I pair this constant purging with self-reliance, and pare, as well, down to the bone of what is really necessity vs. desire.  … the ornaments away, the Nordic nature of the tree in the house during winter is somehow brought bare.  In imagining the house, I almost always see it empty, clean, sparse… in natural light and shadow. . .

It is a mostly unsuccessful attempt to add more value to my life as a homemaker, to turn it all into a koan, a zenning of the domicile.  Never think, for a single minute, that the house is a pristine collection of stones and well-placed shui-ed wooden toys, because we don’t play that way here, all dreams aside. No minimalism makes its stand here, the empty spaces are small gasps for breath in the chaos that is a family life.  Small. Gasping.

But… when there is an empty space and a wardrobe door has the room to creak, there are inner upon inner worlds available to me. My mother-lifetime of resistance makes the value of those empty spaces glow, as possibilities for self-acceptance, little tiny spark-lings whispering ‘truer tasks’… ‘truer task’…  as if I have some ‘thing’ out there towards which I am unwittingly directed.

Empty spaces, zenning domiciles, they aren’t the whole of it- there aren’t any rhapsodies over laundry or happy scourings of the toilets… but using the last of the frozen peas, getting the fingerprints off the door for a whole six minutes, tossing the five scattered pieces of the marble run left over from the last birthday?  These are mine victories…. Cleaning up my visions, letting the cold air flow in stream. 

This month, the early darkening holds the illusion of a deepening, introspective time...illusion because the deeper is only within, not without.  Just because the setting tells a story does not mean that is what goes on … it seems a trick to me sometimes that all this burrowing does not bring about warmth.  The realization that the true storm did not arrive, that the snowfall was just delay, no substance, an early darkening of the early darkening,  it is a plucking, a twanging of the nerves, a reminder of the inner world mismatching the outer.   It would be good to get more in line, more plumb between the inner and outer.

If the natural light and shadow are inseparable, why is it so hard to accept this as a possibility within?  Am I not of the same system?

It is all- is it all?- a gasp,

 a grasp at something bigger within the empty space?


MotherOfGooses said...

oh wow, I love that imagery of an empty warehouse. you nailed it. I have spent the whole month de-Christmasing and de-2014ing.

Corinne Cunningham said...

Beautiful. xo