Monday, April 9, 2012

Cleaning Thyme

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the bunches of organic fresh herbs I’d recently bought were beginning to darken in the refrigerator. So I thought I’d try to dry them and see if they could still be used instead of tossing them out, since they weren't too far gone yet. I tied the little stems with kitchen string and hung them on push pins I’d stabbed into my old wooden kitchen cart and waited expectantly for the first couple of hours and then completely forgot about them.

This, it turns out, was a good thing. Usually my impatience tends to cause me to ruin things. Name a thing. My impulsive rush to see how it all turns out has spoiled the endings of perfectly wonderful books, meals, house plants (over-watered), ceramic projects pulled out of the kiln too soon, photographs—hell, even relationships have crashed due to my insistence on knowing what’s coming.

So for some reason, this morning I noticed the little bundles hanging from the cart’s wooden handle and thought, “aha!!” And found a dry spot on the counter and began to roll the bundles between my hands, as the perfectly dried little leaves dropped into a scattered nest of fine twigs and tiny bits. It took quite awhile to sort out the leaves from the twigs and stems, but when I was finished, I’d filled a few little bottles I’d been saving for years—who knows why—with lovely dried herbs to crush into my eggs or marinara sauces. The only thing that could be better would be having grown them myself—which is not really possible since my little balcony gets no direct sunlight.

Anyway, it’s a ridiculously small accomplishment, I’ll admit. Almost embarrassing, really, to write a whole blog post about it. But the pleasure I experienced as I sorted the leaves from the chaff, doing something so peacefully productive and calming was a revelation. So little of my time lately has been spent this way. And that’s what this post is about. I need more peacefully productive and calming activity in my life.

For a long time this blog has been kind of a metaphor for my life, and my infrequent posts reveal just how little interest I have in maintenance anymore. It’s become one more thing that signifies a personal disappointment to me. The truth is, I’m completely uninterested in taking this blog further.

As well, for the past several years I’ve gradually sunk into depressions and a pervasive sense of futility that has crippled me physically and creatively. The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis has been pretty devastating to me and requires expensive medications with fairly significant side effects that have also led to my increasing isolation and sense of loss. I’m just not the woman I was a few years ago, and I’m not exactly adjusting. A friend once remarked of a mutual acquaintance that she was not “aging well,” and now I’m finding my own circumstances and appearance make that observation particularly piquant.

Okay. It’s true that I’m not aging well. Standing in my kitchen with the morning light streaming in, occupied with a small, homely task came as a powerful reminder that this is what life is made of: small moments of insignificant pleasure taken where we can find them. And when we are lucky enough or determined enough to pursue those moments with clear intention, the reward over time is a fulfilling life.

So I'm ready to pursue fulfillment with clarity and intention, and I don’t know what’s coming, but I'm loving this growing sense of purpose. And it's funny: for once, I’m not hurrying to see how it ends.


Macy/Williams said...

I love how you write, Elizabeth. Please don't give up your blog. It's a window into your world that we can see through, all the way from here.

elizabeth archers said...

Thank you so much, Rachel. Your validation of the blog truly touches my heart, and your comments are so encouraging! Thank you so much. I think I'll continue to post grandson-related stuff at least awhile longer and haven't given up on the idea of blogging. Just want to find a way to make it feel more comprehensive (to me at least!). :)

hibbarka said...

elizabeth, I loved reading this post. and I love how you're attending to your life. this is what you have always done. this is what we all have to do, all ways. you're an inspiration to me.


elizabeth archers said...

KateLynn! How lovely to see your note this morning! Thanks so much for finding your way to my blog. I'm truly grateful to you for your encouraging words, and feel honored by your note. Thank you.