Happy Monday, friends. I hope your weekend treated you well. Ours was lovely – on the warmer side (up to 90*F), but the humidity level has gone way down and that makes a big difference. We stayed close to home and made the most of our shady maple tree. I even had a little quiet time of my own in the basement with my sewing machine, which feels extra special on the weekend. And the most exciting part? A sunflower bloomed!
Today’s post is about taking the time to transition to a new season in a thoughtful way. I can’t wait to share what’s been swirling in my head these last few weeks!
I have moved into cleaning mode as fall approaches. Many people spring clean — open up their homes after a stuffy winter and air out all of the nooks and crannies*. At the arrival of spring, I’m itching to get out of the house and am not willing to spend anymore time inside than I have to. But by the end of summer, I’m looking forward to a season of wintering and want to make the house as cozy and comfortable as possible. I always think about Gilly in Thornyhold, my favorite September reread, as she settles into her newly inherited cozy cottage and makes it her own.
I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks doing the odds and ends that I never seem to do: washing curtains, cleaning windowsills, decluttering and organizing closets and drawers that drive me crazy on a daily basis. Typically when I do major cleaning around the house, I slip in my earbuds and listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or music that keeps me moving. But since I wrote this blog post, I’ve been thinking about the sounds of domesticity and how much joy they bring me when I stop to pay attention.
I think a lot about A Tale for the Time Being, especially the scenes with Nao and her grandmother in the Buddhist temple. Nao wishes for a “lifetime of zazen [seated meditation], cleaning, and pickle making.” I love that. It illustrates how spiritually fulfilling it can be to focus on domesticity in a purposeful and mindful way. That was reinforced for me when I was flipping through my newest book and came across these two sentences:
“The answers I was looking for were not to be found in spiritual teachings, enlightenment flashes, or meditative states – although there were enough of these over the years to keep me going. Little by little, through tending to the daily life of the temple, I began to breath and feel my answers bodily instead of knowing them intellectually.” – page 54, When You Greet Me I Bow by Norman Fischer
Tending to the daily life. This comes up again and again in Buddhist teachings and is the most basic way any of us can practice mindfulness. We can tend to our daily lives with care and love without trying to rush through it to get to the next thing. Which is really, really hard for someone like me (and probably you) who has a lot of interests and hobbies.
I’m beginning to feel like the house is ready to transition to fall and winter, so I’m looking forward to returning to audiobooks and crafting in the evenings. And while this was a nice break from my typical routines, I’ll be embracing that quiet time with a little more enthusiasm because I’ve certainly missed it. And I’ll still be making an effort to listen to the simple sounds of domesticity as I tend to our daily lives because my goodness — it is beautiful.
*I always say crooks and crannies. Google tells me the saying is nooks and crannies. But I’ll never pass up the opportunity for a little alliteration.