Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, April 25, 2008

To Dust or Not to Dust

Yesterday, my Lake Writer buddy Marion e-mailed me this bit of inspiration:

Dust If You Must
by Rose Milligan of Lancaster, England

“A house becomes a home
when you can write,’'I love you’ on the furniture.”

I can't tell you how many countless hours that I have spent CLEANING! I used to spend at least 8 hours every weekend making sure things were just perfect—“in case someone came over.” Then I realized one day that no one came over; they were all out living life and having fun!

Now, when people visit, I find no need to explain the “condition” of my home. They are more interested in hearing about the things I've been doing while I was away living life and having fun. If you haven't figured this out yet, please heed this advice.

Life is short. Enjoy it!

Dust if you must, but wouldn't it be better to paint a picture or write a letter, bake a cake or plant a seed, ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there's not much time, with rivers to swim and mountains to climb, music to hear and books to read, friends to cherish and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your hair, a flutter of snow, a shower of rain. This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind, old age will come and it’s not kind. And when you go —and go you must—you, yourself will make more dust!

It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.

Consequently, I did no housework whatsoever yesterday except to unload and load the dishwasher, sort a few socks, clean the cat-box, and pull the quilt up so the bed looked made.

I did finish a story and send it off the THEMA, finish another story that I’ll submit to Cup of Comfort, finish my column, cruise the Internet and answer e-mail, feed all the critters, walk around the yard with the cats, play fetch with Maggie and pet the other dogs, spend some time with the horses, go to three of the farms and “drink Spring,” take a book to Debi down the road, go to the post office, go to the dumpster, plant a few flowers, read two newspapers, read more of On Agate Hill, etc.

Last night I walked around in the dark and listened to the night sounds—mainly the spring peepers in the pond across the road. I saw the rising of a red-orange moon. I enjoyed myself.

My mother lived her life on “What will the neighbors think?” and she was usually miserable. During her last years in Roanoke, she didn’t even know who most of her neighbors were. She didn’t dress comfortably because she might “look bad.” A couple of rooms in her house were rarely used so they’d stay neat. Certain chores, at least while she was able to do them, had to be done—especially sweeping the porch every morning.

I think I swept my front porch a couple of weeks ago, but the last storm blew some debris onto it. Or maybe it was the bird that always has a nest on top of one of the columns. I think I saw a bird dismantling the old nest a few days ago. I swept part of the deck last week. At least I think I did. I know I mopped the kitchen floor day before yesterday.

But yesterday I petted my critters and heard the peepers and watched the woods green up and the flowers bloom. I was “drinking Spring” off and on all day.

In a hundred years, what will a little dust matter?

Life is short. Enjoy it.



Blogger Amy Hanek said...

Yes, Carpe Diem. I enjoy a good dusty house every now and then. It reminds me of the fun we have had and the cleaning we have ignored. Friends don't bring white gloves while visiting!

BTW: I think my mother must have been trained by your mother. Who cares what the neighbors think?

1:07 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

I am not a fanatic about cleaniliness, but every now and then I simply have to stop and get the dust out. I did that today while it was cloudy and wet outside. I felt better for it. Sometimes it is okay to dust. It just shouldn't rule your life.

4:40 PM  

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