These days at home have been great for getting at all the little jobs, and the big ones, around the house. I’ve been baking all the bread of course, cleaning out closets, changing high-up light bulbs, and this past weekend started washing the studio windows and scrubbing the pollen and algae off the deck railings. This turned out to be a big job, needing an extender pole that I don’t have, so I am only one-third of the way into the project of sprucing up my studio exterior. Inside the studio I have also been cleaning, something I do several times per year (though I’ve never done the interior windows before). Within the next couple of weeks I should have a pretty nice space both inside and out to hang out in.
Like most everyone, I expect I’ll be spending a lot of time at home this summer and so I’m taking the time that I normally don’t have to spruce things up a bit. I’m even going to invest in a new chair for my studio deck.
I’m also looking at my weaving loom and thinking that it’s time to weave off the project that has been on it for months (the fabric is destined to become a sauna towel for my partner) and decide on some smaller skill-building projects for the summer. I sold my big loom in early March, so at the moment I only have the small Julia loom which is portable enough that it can be moved onto the deck in nice weather. With the deck cleaned up, I might actually do that this year.
Incidentally, I am in the market for a larger loom again. I had been looking at very wide (60 inches) and tall swedish countermarch looms in the fall, but since then I’ve done some thinking and have decided that a Louet Spring is the most likely candidate for my weaving needs now, and into the future. I realized that if – for example – we decided to downsize and rented out my studio space I don’t want to deal with finding space for or selling a room-sized loom. The Louet Spring is a fairly expensive purchase, and these looms rarely turn up used – so it will be a year or more before I have the money together to make the order. Before that happens, I hope to be able to travel to Salt Spring Island to try one out at Jane Stafford’s studio. So many contingencies.
On a podcast the other day, I heard the psychologist Mark Epstein remark that the people in his practice who are doing the best these days are those who can treat this time a bit like a meditation retreat – dissolving their expectations into present-moment work like cleaning, mending, and tending (my interpretation of his words). This, of course comes from a privileged place of having a home to retreat into, and not having significant tasks in caring for others – but it is exactly the place I find myself. If I think about the future, or the things I am missing and have had to cancel – I get very anxious. On the other hand, if I allow myself to sink fully into a cleaning task like my windows, I become deeply satisfied with my present moment and space, which frees me up from what might come next. And because the external pressures to travel, to see people, to work away from the home are alleviated – our lives at home feel much more integrated. There is no here and away, this and that life. There is only here and the 95% of activities that take place within our home and garden sphere.
Today I’m going into town to get my car serviced and pick up some things from London Drugs. This will be my first trip that involves errands and shops in over two months and it feels strange to venture away from home to go do things outside of my sphere. I worry that it’s just the beginning of the end of this time focused in one place – and though I would also like to visit friends and family freely again, I’m not quite ready to bring this time of home tending to an end. We will see what the summer brings, but I do expect it will be a quiet one, and that’s okay with me.