Monday, July 16, 2007

A Thousand Journeys, One Step

I find that I often drift from one project to another. Once this meant never finishing anything, and never getting things cleaned up and put away. This resulted in the mess and chaos that I'm slowly overcoming on the farm (and in my life).

Now I'm realizing this is an essential part of who I am and how I do things. It has its blessings, though some have a hard time seeing that. But I'm working to refine my habits. I'm getting much, MUCH better at finishing projects...eventually, in their own good time. And I am slowly getting better at cleaning up and putting away after working on things, and especially after finishing projects. I want to make these changes, because I like the results I see when friends model these habits.

Tonight's perambulations: Sunday night is the night for taking out the trash. I've been trying, little by little, to use Sunday evenings to de-clutter the farm just a little bit more each week. What can I let go of, what can I set by the street for the trash truck at 6 am?

Tonight, enjoying a cool evening after a hot afternoon, I thought it was high time to drag out the box fans and see if any worked. Amazingly, they all did--no candidates for the trash can. Actually, I would have had to make a hard decision about whether to just pitch them as quickly as possible, or keep them around until my next load for the metal recycler.

But so dirty! I dragged one into the light of the kitchen. After taking it substantially apart, I took the grates out on the front porch to spray them down with the hose. But first I watered the burgundy-leafed redbud trees I bought and planted last Sunday. Then back to the grates. Then into the kitchen to clean the motor. Maybe I'll take that apart somewhat...and I bravely did.

It's a thousand little journeys, and one step moves me a little bit further along each one. Enjoying the cool night air on the front porch with beloved Toss, knowing that I won't always have her loyal, quirky companionship. Ridding my life of one more layer of grime left by the tenants, while at the same time getting the fans ready to cool the house as the weather heats up. Increasing my courage and confidence in fiddling with electrical appliances, moving towards more scary projects like a new light/fan unit for the bathroom. (I know I'm capable--I took a house wiring class 30 years ago, and helped rewire two older homes. I'm just nervous dealing with electricity on my own...I'll work through it, little by little.)

On paper, this fan project is a real loser. I could have bought a new one for the amount of time I spent on this old one, calculated at my bus-driving hourly wage.

But the very point of doing it, aside from the above aspects, is simply the act of doing it...a meditation.

The point of journeys is to enjoy them, and the farm is an excellent journeying-place. I'm enjoying these journeys even more as I learn to slow down and let them each be a part of a gentle, surprising lifetime journey, not a collection of one-year, five-year, and ten-year plans or goals. Enjoying the journey includes doing half a project sometimes, knowing that the fragments will add up to something beautiful in the long run.

Like a leaf here and a leaf there adds up to a tree, eventually.

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