Saturday, June 13, 2020

Who Am I To Despair?

I've mentioned before that my friend Lynn was a world-class gift giver. She never had much money to spend on gifts but years and decades after she gave me certain presents I still have them, cherish them, use them. The tiny vase the rose is in above is actually the body of a salt shaker that she gave me. The screw-on top is made of silver and is dented and tarnished with age. I have kept it for years on a vanity I have. The round shape of the little glass vessel pleases me no end and two days ago, when Mr. Moon brought me a tightly closed rose bud from the garden I took the top off the shaker, placed it carefully where I would find it, filled the glass part with water and put the rose bud in it. This morning it opened it's soft petals and there is nothing about the flower, the vase, which does not make me happy.

Oh, what a day. No, not in the great sense or in the tragic or anxious sense. Just... a day of being sick of myself. How many crosswords can one do before one has to admit she may have a problem? Well, of course I don't think I have a problem (with crosswords, at least) but I know that I do use doing them as a way to pass the time which would be so much better spent doing something constructive like cleaning or learning to paint or writing letters or even reading a good book.
But no. It's so easy just to sit there and stare at the computer screen and experience the tiny satisfaction of finding the right word or to despair at not finding the right word. It struck me today as I was doing the millionth load of laundry that I've done in my life that I may well not have that many years left to live and yet- here I am, wasting whatever precious time I do have with these ridiculous pastimes, these never-ending chores and meaningless activities.
And yet- I have no motivation to change my ways.
I actually did clean and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors today. I moved everything out of the way that could be moved and swept twice and then mopped twice. But for once, even the smell of Fabuloso and white vinegar doesn't make me feel anything except acknowledgement that by this time tomorrow, those floors will be dirty again.
I researched the freezing of green beans and by "research" I mean to say that I looked at a few web sites which claimed that not blanching and then ice-bathing the beans before freezing results in a better bean when it comes time to thaw them and eat them.
Because I am a sloth I chose to accept that theory and snapped three quarts worth of my rattlesnake beans, put them in freezer bags, sealed them and put them in the freezer.
Somehow this is not anywhere near as satisfying as canning. Ziplocks simply do not have the same charm and cachet as mason or ball jars. But I'd need a pressure canner to process green beans without a brine and I do want to save some for future meals.

I saw both Dottie and Darla off the nest today. They were getting a quick bite and a sip so I went out to see what exactly they're sitting on. Dottie is sitting on ONE egg and Darla has two underneath her. This is ridiculous. I think I heard Fancy Pants trying to crow this morning. Someone was but of course, it could have been Susie.

I just wrote a very sad and rather angry paragraph about Lynn's last years but I've deleted it. There's no purpose in that. She was a beautiful soul and she's gone now. I use the pretty little French glass bowls she gave me every day of my life. The saltshaker brings me joy. My memories of her bring me joy as well as deep sadness.
Perhaps it's just a day to let myself feel sad.

There's a still life from last night. 

Here's a picture of the tiny new leaves which have appeared in the pot where I've kept three rooted giant begonias for months. 

Life. As Kurt Vonnegut said, there is just no stopping it. 

It's good to think about that. And to remember that Lynn would probably have given anything to be able to grow old doing laundry and crosswords. 

Hang in there, y'all. Do what you need to do to keep living for the years that you have been given. 
I will too. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. That rose is beautiful and so is the vessel that displays it. I'm sorry you feel sad today, Mary. Some days we just have to accept that and deal with it I guess. When you said that your friend would have loved the chance to grow old doing mundane chores it really struck a chord with me. I found out last week that a young guy that used to work with me at a retail job years ago died after a some sort of fall/accident at his home. He was only 33 years old. I still remember him as a full-of-life 19 year old, that's how long it's been since I'd seen him. It made me remember what a privilege growing older is...a privilege so sadly denied to so many. :(

  2. I sometimes think, "I should be doing more", but really, why shouldn't I just do whatever the hell I want? Maybe not crossword puzzles, but something? Growing old can be whatever you want it to be.

  3. Who's to say what constitutes wasting time? We do get into the mindset that anything not physically productive must be waste. But I think there are days of lying fallow. It's good farming and maybe it's good mental health.

  4. I love you Mary in all the ways you are. Sometimes we are sad, sometimes we're happy and sometimes we just wanna sit on the couch and stare out the window. And your good heart shines out over all of us. XXX

  5. I just read through all those good people who express themselves so much better than I do, and I agree with all, and especially Ms. Boud, and her farming metaphor. Lying fallow, and I second it.

  6. Mary I’ve been going through the basic list at because I’ve been sick and lack energy. Last night I cleaned about one square foot of my kitchen floor before I took myself back to bed. Your tomatoes make my mouth water. I love small treasures that fit in the palm of my hand. I love you too.

  7. I use crosswords to procrastinate, too. But today I went to the basement and started a years put-off sort/throw/donate/organize thingy. I lasted about 45 minutes and then came up to let the dog out. I never went back down there, so now I have s@#$ pulled out and scattered all over the place. I keep too many old antique-y or sentimental treasures that no one else will want and no one buys anymore. And if I toss them, I'll regret it a couple weeks later. As Scarlett said, tomorrow's another day. Or next week. Or someday. So, remember me, Mary, up here in Wisconsin, doing the same thing as you whenever you feel guilty. You are not alone. Carry on, carry on.

  8. Every evening I am so glad to go to bed, wake up late, nap in the afternoon and then early to bed again...I have never slept so much EVER, all of this has short circuited my biology and sleep and sloth seems to be the best remedy. For now- we are doing OK, all of us -in the midst of existential crisis and incredible stress, I would say we are remarkable.
    Your rose is lovely!

  9. I sit and read blogs instead of doing the things I feel I should be doing! I'm a great believer in the saying 'time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted'. x

  10. If we take pleasure in life's daily tasks, as you seem to, then we're doing just what we ought to be doing -- don't you think?

    I have a tiny rose that got knocked off one of our bushes, blooming in a shot glass!

  11. Memories are a harsh mistress. Sigh.

    It sounds like you've already done quite a lot. I'm must rouse myself!

  12. Tagging on to what Boud and Joanne have already said...and said well.

  13. time is not wasted. crosswords stimulate the mind and keep it from growing stagnant. I used to do crossword puzzles but now it's just mostly solitaire or four plus. but I know what you mean. I took that watercolor class and bought paper and paints and haven't so much as sat down and got them wet. but rest and not-doing is just as important to the body and soul and being busy and producing.

    let me know how the green beans thaw. I quit trying to freeze green beans because they always thawed out nasty. and I don't think I blanched them. I'm sure not.

  14. Every so often you have these feelings, but I promise you, there is great purpose in your existence on this earth. You, my love, are part of the army of light. I use the military term purposely, because it does feel like war to me right now, and the bringers of light, as you are, are the hope of us all. You have purpose just be being who you are, how you are, whether you're exercising your brain with a crossword puzzle or exercising your body by pulling up weeds or kicking bamboo, or creating art through your cooking and your writing, or exorcising your demons through brave unflinching sharing or showing us how to love through how you love others, it's all of a piece, and I am grateful for it, for you, always. Sending big hugs in a time of no hugs. In my mind and heart, I'm wrapping my arms around you tight.

  15. Hang in there. That's great that your begonias cuttings are starting to sprout! Way back in beginning of this sad year i bought a jicama from our one and only little Mexican grocery. I asked the nice people "do you think this will grow here?" They didn't know. I said, if it grows i will come and tell you. It sat there in that pot looking like a tuber until mid April and now it is taller than i am! I have not been able to go back and tell them. I think we are all often sad these days. Thank you for a beautiful essay. Although my face is wet with tears, i feel better somehow. Thank you.


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