mend and make do

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We spent the summer nesting. The kind of nesting, apparently, one does when the last of the children leaves and you’ve suddenly inherited a wealth of space previously occupied. It’s a wistful sort of nesting, at first. But we eventually found our way into a groove of happy home-tending.

As such, we’ve worked on all things home this summer. A little remodeling here. Some new furniture there. Paint. Flooring. All with an eye toward how we really intend to use the rooms in our home at this point in our lives. We’ve also planned ahead for when the children, and later the grandchildren, visit.

We’ve spent some hot, summer days in the attic and in the cooler basement: tossing, sorting, debating, and deciding. Paring down possessions accumulated in our 20 or so years as a family. What’s needed? Relevant? Beautiful? Sentimental? Worth hanging on to? Still useful?

While I wouldn’t classify our final decisions as utterly ruthless, we did take a good hard look at our life with stuff. And quite clearly, we have just about everything we need. And then some, probably.

Most of the time, making do simply involves taking a look around to see what I’ve already got. And I guess, that’s what I’m learning. Mend or make do is less about frugality, exactly, than it is recognizing what’s useful and purposeful and helpful among my possessions and banishing those which aren’t any of those things. It’s about retraining my brain from mindless and somewhat habitual consumerism to consciously evaluating wants, needs, and the altogether unnecessary.

New curtains after painting downstairs? Not necessary. Shift the bedroom curtains and rehang some sheers we found in the basement. New area rug? No need. Do si do the rugs in the entry and family room, and it’ll work just fine.  We removed our old kitchen counter and sat it atop some sawhorses downstairs. Et voila! A new workspace emerged for printing and framing my photography.

Maybe it’s time to find a cobbler for those boots I love, so the worn out heels can be restored. It’s a good idea to remove photgraphs I no longer display from the frames I could use for photographs I intend – one day – to show and sell. That old rattan planter makes a nifty wastebasket in our new office space. And I promise I’m finally going to hem that dress which was always an inch or so too long.

It’s a mind shift. A habit shift. A throwback to the days when folks used it up, repaired it time and again, or just plain wore it out before the thought ever occurred to buy new.

Feels good right about now, and I’m discovering …. less really is more.

happy

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The green pepper I diced this afternoon for our Labor Day potato salad was just picked and still warm from the sun shining on our little garden out back. Just hours earlier, we were riding cresting wave after wave, collecting sun-bleached shells, feeling a little like eight-year-olds, and caring not one bit.

Happy.

The passage of time is guaranteed and one for-certain constant in this ever-changing world. Cycle follows cycle as seasons turns from one to the next. Tides rise and fall, always reaching and retreating, pulling, pushing, and steady.  I followed the flight of two Monarch butterflies across the sand today, wishing them well on their migration journey and thanking them for stopping for just a moment on mine.

One of these days soon, the green will go and the bluest skies I’ve ever seen will fade. But maybe the joy’s in the noticing what’s now. And just now, the sun’s setting almost down below the treetops, warming our garden for a few minutes more.

A few minutes more.

I may not be ready to replace the shells I’ve collected this summer with pots of mums on the stoop. But there’s that potato salad for dinner, corn on the cob fresh from the farm, and the lushest garden tomatoes to savor as their juice drips down my chin.

And I’m happy.

Here and now.