Through the years, one of my daughters would remark about how my house was replete with what she called “still life” arrangements, as if in a painting. I noticed that she did not necessarily mean this as a compliment, her tone of voice slightly tinged with sarcasm. I was always a little baffled by what sounded to me like implied criticism in this grudging commentary. Until recently.
On another note, I’ve been drawn to books by stylists from Australia recently–“Etcetera” by Sibella Court and another stylist’s guide to finding wonderful things in New York City, a place I like to visit when I can get on the bus from where I live and take a day trip.
What I discovered about myself from these two threads is that I like making settings for myself. Engaging, appealing books to read, asian-inspired arrangements of leaves from the garden in old pottery or modern glass. The kitchen space has finally been cleared out, easier to maintain when we remember to clean up after ourselves. It pleases me to look at it.
What I also noticed is that I reserve things aside: nice clothes that I wait to wear for an event to happen; antique jewelry that is too beautiful to part with but delicate to wear everyday; books that are still waiting to be read, thumbed through but not as yet digested from front to back. Meanwhile, I shift things, clean them out, hold them back, give them away, consign them, and then cycle through and recycle again. I will go to my grave finding the next beautiful blue and white rice bowl.
Meanwhile my life goes by. It’s now time to live within the framing that I spend my time creating. To enjoy playing Beethoven sonatas on the gorgeous piano that I’ve always wanted and now have; to listen to the music that I’m afraid might bother someone else’s privacy; to wear beautiful clothes and go somewhere. I am fulfilled with most everything I have ever wanted: but I am afraid to acknowledge it, I think.
Maybe I’ll start today.