Spatial relations

Sources of Joy – Day 64

The overriding thought today was about the nature of space. I have cleared space in my normal schedule to deal with many things, including the moving of what together constitutes our home from one place to another. I have kept work to the bare minimum – about 20% of my normal output. I have the extra hours I usually spend in my day caring for João at my disposal too. The oddest, most unfathomable thing is that I feel busier than ever.

Words and writings and ideas are flooding into the space created for the primary purpose of doing nothing at all at such an alarming pace that they may well wash me away altogether. Very little of this output has made its way to the public eye yet, and may never do so, but it will not go away – and I am not complaining.

Two days ago, I heard myself saying that I was not tired for the first time since November last year. I am sure this new energy is related to the strange bubble I have been mostly inhabiting in the last couple of weeks. I do wish I could bottle this intangible stuff and save it for a hectic day. It is a source of sadness and joy in equal measure that I must soak it up and savour it all at once.

If that is not remarkable enough, I realise with a crazed calm born of chaos that all that kvetching during the last six months or so about my home not being in perfect order the way it should be was utter rubbish. I have almost emptied our storeroom normally designated by normal people as the pantry. Much to my very great chagrin, I seem to have accumulated foam rubber cushions at no cost to myself at the rate of 25 cm per year. To put that in perspective, it is a geological fact that topsoil accumulates on the Earth’s surface in ecological pristine conditions at the pitiful rate of only 2 mm per year. And no, I did not get that piece of information from a bubblegum wrapper.

This 1.25 m pile of cushions excludes pillows on the bed and the three big cushions which add comfort to the sofa/divan/mega-bed. Although not all collocated yet, I am certain that our domestic blanket and duvet population would reach a similar height. We came to Portugal with just two blankets. We purchased another two when we got here because we froze our toes off during the first winter. The rest have been given to us, I suppose, because people secretly wanted to be invited to a bohemian blanket-tent party with huge foam rubber cushions scattered about the place, and nowhere to put their wine glass without it falling over.

We have a pile of hats, too.
We have a pile of hats, too.

The coffee mug collection is equally eclectic.

As I stood in the openplan kitchen and surveyed this pillar of foam rubber, half the drawers from our teak TV cabinet removed from their telescopic runners and stacked on the floor, and the mountain of clothes on the bed in the bedroom half-way through being sorted into winter, summer and essential and non-essential which has temporarily come to a halt because I cannot decide if this is the year that my “Only surfers know the feeling” long-sleeved pale grey (was black) T-shirt purchased in Amsterdam in 2005 should finally become a polishing rag, I am heartily gladdened by the notion that by comparison, my home was perfectly neat and tidy one month ago.

I mean, what if, out of the blue, someone wants me to play the part of a homeless beggar in an amateur theatre production? I have just the clothes for it! I am not a surfer and my dramatic career as a prompt came to a stuttering end at age 12 when I lost my place in the script just when the hero of the play needed prompting. I have just remembered that the play was set on the coast of Dover and was about barrels of wine being smuggled from Portugal. My next assignment is all about barrels of wine from Porto. Fancy that!

Although I had already chosen my new accommodation, I went to view an apartment on a hill, more out of curiosity than anything else. Suffice to say I know for certain that I have made the best decision. While waiting for the owner, my eyes chanced upon an overgrown mass of pink carnations. My  grandmother had four acres under carnations in Zambia, so she told me when I was eleven years old, as she showed me how to take slips from adult plants and plant them. The first thing I did was smell the flowers. There is nothing quite so exquisite as the true smell of a carnation! I felt I had no choice but to be kind to the plant before me, and thin it appropriately. On Saturday, I shall plant the new plants in the flower bed in front of my new office window. The combination of light and shade there will be just right, “mark my words”, as my gran used to say. Until then, my little treasure, roots and all, can stay alive in water.


The beginning of my carnation crop.
The beginning of my carnation crop.

Meanwhile, in a surprise move, my acupuncturist would like me to meet someone she adjudges to be of like mind, of like persuasion, and who shares similar attributes with me; chiefly those of build, absent-mindedness with regard to mealtimes, and the menopause. My doctor made me laugh, but I know her to be an astute, generous and determined woman, particularly when in cahoots with her daughter as they advance together in pursuit of my happiness, so I have done nothing to deter her from whatever plot she is hatching.  I have no idea what precisely this afternoon’s treatment was intended to achieve. What I do know is that I still have vibrant energy zinging around my body some five hours after treatment has ended. Long may it continue!




2 thoughts on “Spatial relations

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  1. Merci pour ces textes, Allison. Ils me rappellent souvent les mots de Christian Bobin dont cette jolie phrase : “Le bout du monde et le fond du jardin contiennent la même quantité de merveilles.”



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