When I was a teenager, I had a favorite poem that went like this:
When to distant waterfalls I roam, I dream of my wisteria at home.
No doubt an Englishman wrote it, but I don’t know who these days.
I don’t grow wisteria, in fact I ripped them out of my back yard owing to their tendency to take over. In the South they have been known to topple whole buildings. But I do have the feelings for home similar to those expressed by this poet.
Perhaps it is because I spent so much time traveling when I was an active participant in the labor force. Perhaps it is the effect of being relatively rootless throughout my childhood, but all I want to do these days is stay home.
Another favorite poem went:
“Breathes there a man with soul so dead, that he has never to himself said:”This is my own my native land?”
For me that’s the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Another poet wrote:
I’m glad my house is a little house, Not too tall or wide. I’m glad the hovering butterflies feel free to come inside.”
Yes, I have been clearing out again because I can see into the future, and the future does not include this house. David and I are having much difficulty keeping things going…it takes two of us. If and when there is only one of us the inevitable will happen.
As I tossed file drawers of decades old ‘stuff’ away yesterday (I made David actually carry it to the recycle bin), I looked over the hundreds of pages of news clippings, magazine articles, notes about my various TV and radio appearances, some of which I have on tape; notes of approval from higher up bosses in my organization as well as letters of commendation, photographs from newspapers and magazines; Reports I wrote as a Congressional staffer, and testimony before Congress years later. I felt a bit torn.
“You should keep that stuff,” says David, the only witness to my brilliant career.
What are you going to do, pour over it and weep if I predeceased you? My kids won’t want it, they might like to hear about grandma so-in-so, but who cares if I got an outstanding evaluation one year. I don’t even care anymore.
NO, I wasn’t on the pity pot, just being realistic. I can’t think of anything more boring than the small wins and losses of ones business career. What seemed like triumphs at the time, seem small and insignificant now. After all, I might have worked in the Finance Department, but I did not make 20 million as a financier. And, I might have been on radio and TV from time to time, but am not Meryl Streep. Except for Hillary, I eschew political tales, although I tried reading Jane Fonda’s bio and got bored, and look at the commotion she caused.
When I say I read bios, I mean certain famous people. I have read at least six biographies about Jane Austen, and even took two continuing education classes at Georgetown on her life and works. Ditto Virginia Woolf, George Sand, Janet Frame,and the crazy Anne Sexton.
I have yet another Jane Austen bio on my Kindle (more about this later). I have also read most of M.F.K. Fisher’s memoirs. And, a day or two ago, I started Julia Child’s new bio Dearie. When I was a graduate history student, I read several biographies about Margaret Thatcher and Sir Winston, as well as other bios about British notables.
On the other hand, I love to hear about my friend’s adventures and experiences, which is why I read the blogs I continue to read. Perhaps that’s the key. I don’t read bios to read bios, I read them because I genuinely care about someone.
Anyway, I am doing what we all must do and clear the clutter away, from our houses, from our minds, etc. Besides, I need drawer space for all the yarn I have been accumulating. Do I hear someone scratching at the door? But I don’t have cats anymore.
And in case you wondered, my begonia just keeps giving and giving which is why I will stay home until October when I fly to CA to see my son and his family and meet Mage in person.