30 November 2009

Still life

I have always been partial to still life paintings; scenes from a slice of time in life. A festive buffet table in the midst of a cheerful dinner party, a lonesome bowl of flowers in a dusty, visitor-forsaken parlor, a picnic basket heavy with refreshments waiting on a sunny front porch just before a ride to the country.

It is a mystery to me how these images capture the moment, the essence of human emotion when no human images are present.

I ponder the holiday weekend that just ended and the range of emotions that typically accompany any holiday. This one was no exception. A pinch of stress, heaping helping of happiness, dash of disappointment, cupful of peace. As I get older, I expect stress and disappointment to knock on the door of my holiday; they are annual visitors. I acknowledge their presence and am learning to simply accept that they are there, but not engage with them to a great extent. I have a much better time if I visit with happiness and peace.

On Thursday evening, I viewed the carnage that was formerly my clean kitchen and did my best to tidy up without detaching from the celebration. Dishes, stemware, leftover food loaded into plastic containers, saucepans and kettles in the sink. Contrasted with twinkling tree lights, glowing embers in the fireplace, colorful bowl of apples, bottle of wine on the sideboard. But on Friday morning, with only a small amount of effort, the mess was a distant memory and my kitchen had reemerged from the rubble. Coffee cup, breakfast plate, laptop computer, eyeglasses.

The still lives of the moments of the weekend. The peaceful ending: folded laundry, rumpled blankets, sleeping dogs, cell phones plugged into the wall.

1 comment:

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