It is early morning and I am waking up my home. I know that I write about the morning a lot, but I think that it is a beautiful time, especially in the autumn, when we are all just a little bit slower getting out of our warm and cozy beds. The sun, too, is slow to creep over the horizon. I’ve beaten her by a few minutes every morning this week. Before long, I’ll be well into my routine before I see her appearance in my window. Her late arrival means that the crisp air of New England remains in these walls, keeping my rooms chilly as I enter them.
This is the best time of day—it is time to light the hearth.
My oven is preheating. The popping sound of metal waking up is the only thing I hear above the air delivering much needed heat through the grates in the floor. It is a bit too early to start the coffee maker (my grind ‘n brew sounds like a rocket when I turn it on), but it is set up and I can still smell the coffee beans that I put into it. The small lamp next to my favorite chair is throwing minimal oranges and yellows at the darkness, but I can see the light on the horizon. The world is waking up.
Who lights the hearth in your life? Who wakes up the world for you? How sacred is that duty in your house? I love that this part of the day belongs only to me, and that the three men in my life have no idea what I’m doing down here. It isn’t about flipping a switch and turning on the television… it’s about making sure that the first few moments of their day are warm and positive. It’s about a kiss, a smile, something warm right out of the oven. It’s about the first smell of the morning being full of pumpkin spice and coffee beans. These moments will be forgotten by 2 in the afternoon, but they mean something now. They mean everything right now.
I have been thinking about the concept of “home” a lot this week. As Boston erupts in joy over the stupid Sox in the stupid World Series, I’ve been a little bit miffed. This place gets a little bit obnoxious when the home team gets into a championship series. I complained in a text to a friend. Her reply: “This is your home now, girl, you betta get on board.”
This is my home now.
The sellers signed the extension. The septic work is starting today. We’re going to closing on the 8th. I’m going to be a landed citizen of Massachusetts. I shall own soil here to cultivate as I should see fit.
This is my home now.
And when we finally move into this house, and unpack our things, and fall into a routine, that house will be our home. The home we chose, the home we’ve fought for. It will be a sacred place, and these mornings will be that much more meaningful.
I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to making that house my home. Filling it with the joy of my sons’ laughter, fighting, throwing, stomping and screaming. Hearing the echoes of the nerdy jokes my husband makes. Throwing our dirty laundry down the stairs on Sunday morning in preparation for the great weekly washing. Baking my first set of Friday muffins in that farmer’s kitchen. Loading up the pantry after that first big Costco run. Planting the acorns that I gave my husband a few weeks ago. Knitting two pretty afghans to throw on the boys’ beds come spring time. Constructing a quilt honoring Maryland to put on the wall in our office. Throwing our first party in the summertime. Lighting the hearth for a new chapter in our lives.
I’ve been thinking, too, about the beautiful dignity and art that goes into homemaking. The patient stewardship required for keeping a family of four moving through the days and weeks. The skills it takes to keep us well fed, clean, warm, and happy. So often, a woman’s work is invisible, ignored or deemed unworthy of recognition. Dishes are dirtied soon after washing. Floors are muddied soon after mopping. Clothes are stained soon after laundered. Kitchens are cooked in hours after scrubbed. To keep a home is a Zen sort of process—the pleasure derived from it is so fleeting, the function of it so simple, the beauty of it so nuanced and sacred. To make a home and make it well is a beautiful, artful, dignified thing to do.
I write all of this, and then I have to say that I’m actually not going to light the fires in my home tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’m getting up early and I’m going to my first WordCamp. i’m excited and very nervous–I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, so I’m going to be by myself in a sea of happy webnerdom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a junior league nerd. I speak the language, for the most part (though I don’t code) and I enjoy most of the same stuff as the average nerd does (case in point: I get about 90% of the jokes on Big Bang Theory. ) But I’m an introvert first and foremost, and I’m going to be all too happy to find an anonymous seat in each session I sit in, tap at my computer and flash warm but guarded smiles at passerby to make eye-contact. I am really hoping to get a lot out of this experience–ways to make this blog better, ways to set up my author’s blog over the next few months as I write books and short stories and attempt to sell them… I’m even thinking about setting up a blog specifically for parents who are looking for diversity-related issues and conversations (though I might roll that into this one). I’m excited about being a student for a weekend. I hope I can find away to not feel alone for the entirety of it.
I should warn you that I’ll have my computer with me and I’ll probably be trying out tips and techniques on the blog as I go through sessions. I have no idea what the blog is going to look like come Monday morning. Hell, it might look different as soon as tomorrow afternoon. So if you don’t like it when things get all wonky, then please check me out on Monday. I’m going to be really excited to share what I’ve learned and I hope that I can continue to improve as a blogger and writer (there is, I’m learning, a difference!).
I was asked about “Angry Black Woman” mode, and I haven’t forgotten about it. I think I’ll dedicate a post to it next week. I have to think of some stories, and hope that they aren’t too utterly mortifying to share. I can certainly think of a time when it got me into trouble. I can probably get The Husband to think of a time when getting me out of it was the right thing to do. But can i think of a time when it was perfectly time and yielded positive result? Hmmm… I’m still pondering.
But in the mean time, it’s Friday. Friday is for contemplation, reflection, and preparation for the weekend. I have so many wishes for you this weekend. I wish you a moment to watch the light of a lamp chase the darkness out of an empty room. A few notes of jazz to accompany a moment of thought or writing. I wish you a secret and knowing smile with the person you love–an intimate inside joke shared between two people. I wish you a comforting hand on a shoulder or the small of your back, a little reassurance and comfort in the face of the chaos of the world. I wish you the sensation of new-day cold on newly awoken feet, moving you ever faster to the opening of your day. I wish you a sip of good wine and a bit of good crusty bread, buttered and still warm. I wish you a fleeting moment of watching your breath float across the air. I hope you’ll light your hearth this weekend, and warm your home with something artful and beautiful: A doddle on a paper, a scarf knitted with thread long stored in your craft box, a pretty sampler embroidered over the course of an afternoon. Or maybe you’ll pick up a project from somewhere else. Martha Stewart’s November issue has lot of really good ideas. if I were entertaining for Thanksgiving, I’d take up the corn husk wreathe and the pretty embroidered napkins. I might even have embroidered my own table cloth…
Anyway, as always, I wish you joy this weekend. Warmth and joy. And I’m stealing this from Britt: Light and Love. Warmth, Joy, Light, Love. These are beautiful things.
See you Monday.