Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Homage to Home

My beautiful wooden dish drying rack broke sometime this weekend. No one told me it was collapsing, so one side caved and the second side, held together only by a peg, twisted and pulled the peg out with the force of the uneven weight of drying dishes. With time to kill as a date was running horribly late (to the tune of 3 hours), I tried my options. I whittled down some twigs to use as pegs - which were too weak to hold without twisting while I hammered the thing together. One broke and is now stuck in the hole for the peg - which will be easy enough to dislodge with a sharp knife (I hope). So tonight I'm going to go and buy some pegs. It's a beautiful dish rack that's very fixable and I have no intention of throwing it out.

Most of our waste comes from things not being reused or not being seen as reusable. We seem to generally refuse to accept the possibility that things actually are fixable, and therefore are reusable. Of course, it makes perfect sense that replacing is easier than fixing - things are cheap, and with at least 40 hours of each week going into work, who has time to fix what could just be replaced?

When things around the house break or clothes rip, I feel morally obligated by my own frugality to fix them or sew them up, and not to waste by throwing whatever broke out and getting a new one. As a result of financial need, a tinkering habit, and a deep love of older, well-crafted, simple (and therefore fixable) objects, I have turned frugality into a hobby. This hobby of mine makes living cheap fun and easy, and makes my sense of moral obligation to waste not less preachy - and less central to the point. Morality is far less effective in motivating me than simple pleasures - so I try to combine the two.


When my date finally did arrive (I did not turn him away at the door. I'll be honest, a part of me had wanted to, but I was far too excited to see him), he was surprised by my house. He paid me a compliment I had not even considered until the moment. "I have never seen a 23 year-old," he said "with a house this well kept."

My home is an homage to the concept of home in the same way that a poem is an homage to the concept of a poem. My home is a work of art. How could it not be? These walls are the only walls that contain me and all things mine. I have chosen them. Home is a simple and modest shrine made by and in honor of daily tasks. There is a holiness in the home. It is the only holy place I have ever known. It is the sacred heart of the tasks and objects of life, love, and family. If home is not beautiful and well cared for, if our shrines are not places of exaltation, how can we exalt within them? The quest for a life of grace, wonder, and beauty is an uphill battle if a home is not a shrine to the best that we hold inside ourselves - to the holiness of even our most mundane daily tasks. These tasks that are not only necessary, but are themselves an homage to the potential of their own perfection. it is all, on days when the sun shines and the home holds its sacred heart, a poem.

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