At My Desk

What a weekend! Here in New Hampshire, it was relatively warm and sunny. A lot of snow melted so our driveway became Puddle City and, once again, plenty of mud has been tracked into the house. The work is never done! But it is so nice that the kids can get outside and burn off a ton of energy without worrying about keeping on hats and mittens or basically freezing to death. And it’s Monday again and I’m here today with what I hope to be a renewal to my blogging life — a snapshot of a little time at my desk.

I had an hour of quiet time on Sunday afternoon (thank you, Matthew) and spent it at my desk, doing a bit of extra journaling, and reveling in the time with my earbuds in and some piano music blocking out the rumbles emanating beyond the door behind me. I was reminded how much can actually get done in just an hour!

It was strange to be at my desk when the sun was shining, but it felt right and wonderful. It’s a messy little place: I can never seem to tame the clutter or the cords. This the charging station and home for the Ipad and the Nintendo Switch, so there are typically random devices floating around. And yes – that’s the hummingbird feeder still on the window despite the time of year. My notebooks are usually open with thoughts and ideas tumbling out of them, a book of poetry always at the ready (right now: The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry). This is my little oasis and I’m very lucky to have this dedicated place (mostly) for myself.

A few weeks ago I wrote about setting priorities and shared that time for reflection and blog writing was high on the agenda. Essentialism, which I’m reading with a friend, asks the reader to consider where they want to “go big.” And the more I think about it, the more I’m realizing that it’s this blog or a substack. I have had lots of ideas over the last several months but have been unable to claim the time required to see them through. There’s no good excuse for that.

My goal here has always been to be honest, thoughtful, and encouraging. I’ve had varying degrees of success with all of those ambitions, but I’m hoping to begin leaning into those characteristics more vigorously and that it shows.

A Poem:

This is the poem I read this morning and it felt applicable to so much in our lives, including our writing. It is untitled and from The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry. You can also find it in his collection called This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems, which I read a few years ago.

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

Isn’t that just true? That sitting down to write requires us to allow our fears to approach us and to sit with them until we can handle and understand them in any meaningful way?

I have been on a mission with my reading life to find books that are true. Not true as in non-fiction, but stories that are built around a kernel of true-ness (not a word, but truth doesn’t quite work here.) Something that — despite a person’s religion, background, experiences, etc — everyone can agree that this is true.

Have you ever read anything and been struck by how true it was? I’d love your recommendations. One of my recent finishes that tick this box was The Book of Goose – it was full of little statements that got right to the truth of things. I loved it.

We are expecting another big snowstorm tonight and through tomorrow. I’m so happy that this has turned into such a snowy winter and am looking forward to playing in the fresh snow tomorrow. I hope to be back on Wednesday with an update on this week’s reading. Until then – take good care.


20 thoughts on “At My Desk

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  1. I do so love that Berry poem (I have it dog-eared and return to it frequently!) And my thoughts were the same as Sarah’s… you’d laugh at my desk if you saw it!

    And I was very much nodding along with the true-ness idea. I am reading a book right now that very much feels that way. And yeah… those are the very best books to read!


  2. I wouldn’t say your desk looks messy. Rather, a busy place. Wonderful that you had an hour to yourself on Sunday. As for true-ness…a book I read recently falls under this category for me, at least. It’s Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan, a gem of a novella.


  3. So important for mental well being to have time and space to reflect. I have a pretty tidy desk for my laptop, but tend to do browsing on a tablet from the sofa. Writing and reflecting is done from my bed! Living alone has its plus side too. More space! We have wind today, no more snow is forecasted. Have a Good day,x


  4. Oh I wish we would get some snow!! Your desk looks pristine compared to mine (which I will NOT take a picture of) which has a scattering of post it notes along the bottom of my monitor, files and papers piled on the laptop which is in the docking station, pencils, a checkbook, a basket, an empty wine glass…you get the idea. Your time on Sunday sounds delightful – so glad you had an hour to yourself!


  5. I was actually thinking your desk space looked neat and tidy and inviting. I guess it is all about perspective. This was a lovely post Katie. You write so well.


  6. Thank you for the peek into Your Space … I love the setup (especially the window and the shelf at the back. and for the peek into where your head and heart are leading you right now. I always appreciate what you share here, and true-ness definitely resonates with me!


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