After a blissfully uneventful drive, I rode into Homer yesterday afternoon to find most of the snow cover gone, bright sunshine, and temperatures dropping rapidly as the huge, early-hanging moon approaches fullness.
What this meant in practical terms, as I knew, was that the path down to our cabin was a 40-yard sheet of the sheerest ice that runs right off the edge of the bluff if you don't choose to stop at the cabin door. It was twilight, so any water molecules were packing in tight for bed, and for maximum slickness. Even with the best ice cleats, nigh-crampons, I could barely stand up in certain places. The fact that I didn't fall on my butt multiple times says more about my good balance than about the conditions! Favorite moment: sliding the cooler, which weighed probably 40 or so pounds, all the way down the path, sometimes pulling it like a sled dog, sometimes gingerly steering it from behind as the musher, ready to yank back should it start to run away with me.
And then I got home. When my friend Lynn asked me what I was most looking forward to about getting home, my answer was "getting it cleaned up." It's not that I love to clean: the mess that is the cabin, especially with me having been gone for a week unexpectedly over the break, had really gotten on top of me.
-Two somewhat clutter-tolerant people in a 16x20 cabin.
-A dirt path to the cabin--dust and grime in the summer, sand and grit in the winter, dust all the time, all making their way in.
-No running water since our pipes froze around Thanksgiving, so water always feels limited and hauling six-gallon jugs down above-mentioned ice-run is more arduous than rodeo.
-Even with no bathroom (or perhaps especially with no bathroom), things seem to get dirty faster than I can keep up.
With all those excuses, this person who is unashamed to confess to unpleasant habits is not comfortable showing a picture of the mess she walked in on.
I'd prefer to show a view from just north of Anchorage, one of the many vistas here that invite you to imagine going away, away, away into space forever opening.
Just an example, though--"my space" where I typically work up at the counter. My space is the inevitable explosion of pens, papers, books, literary magazines, augmented by holiday cards, some of them unopened, unread, unwritten, unsent (yes, I missed the holidays). Additionally, a vial of homeopathic pills, a bottle of herbal supplement, four small pills in a white dish: a potent antipsychotic I'd pretended to take but hadn't taken in the place of no shoelaces. Two Styrofoam bowls from the same place 'just in case' for traveling (as if; they're going straight in the trash). Many many beautiful rocks, some of them donating sand--they don't all need to be right there. A mostly used-up aloe vera leaf. A mug-warmer. Various distractors-from-picking-myself-apart that I've been completely failing to use--my fluffy duster, my squishy lion, my worry beads.
Add to this the fact that the whole mess spills over onto the floor, spills outward beyond "my space," that my space is commensurate with my dining space and, well, it just doesn't get better. And that's not even to mention all the other spaces--the floor, Phil's areas, the kitchen, the sleeping loft...
So here I am writing about it rather than cleaning up??
No, I'm sharing the situation, and inviting clarity and (self-)compassion to myself.
Storage space to tidy away is an issue; water for cleaning is an issue. We had started to semi-wash dishes to conserve water, I'd quit using my Vita-mix, had been fixing food that minimized water use and dishes. Many dry-cabin-dwellers do all these things, but to most people this is gross.
Just like with my car, I want to facilitate openness and tidiness, space in which things may manifest; space to see what's already there.
Space to see what's already there. Clean space that motivates getting all sweaty hauling lots of extra water so I can wash better, and going to the laundromat more often so I can change out my clothes more frequently, before they get stinky (please love me anyway).
These dolphins in the park in downtown Anchorage are pretty awesome.