Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In the clutter

It's on days like this that The Tripper steps back from all the Day Trips and realizes that sometimes the space we inhabit holds the greatest vats of discovery.

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I am sitting on my bed. The Day has not been particularly eventful. After a few morning meetings, I found myself in a free afternoon. The sky was heavy with clouds, but it was no deterrent of my wanderlust. I bundled up and took a Trip alone. An 8 block jaunt landed me in Eastern Market. I bought the following: 2 carrots, a leek, some thyme (unfortunately they didn't have any time for sale, so I went with the herb), an onion, garlic, a little over a pound of chicken, 4 pieces of bacon, chicken broth, a Parisian baguette, some bay leaves, and 5 grapefruit (3 regular, 2 ruby). The kind woman at the market threw in a banana for good measure. I'm not especially fond of bananas, but I appreciated the gesture nevertheless.

My walk back was silent. DC is not a silent place. There is an energy in the air that seems to hum at a constant pitch. Today, the energy must have been too high in the sky for me to hear it. People were absent from the sidewalk. Cars were absent from the street. The snow finally managed to melt down enough to become the sidewalk's lace. I could hear myself think on my walk home. Sometimes the most silent times make for the loudest thoughts.

To speed things up a bit, I will bring you up to real time. After a few conversations with old friends, I straightened and cleaned my room. For those of you who know anything about Day Tripping, Trippers do not always keep things in order; however, when the time comes to move forward, items must be in place (whatever place that might be).

I made a delectable dinner just a few hours ago, cleaned every pot and pan, did some things in between, and now I am sitting on my bed facing my desk. I realized that my neat and tidy turned right back in to clutter over the course of the evening. The things I had straightened up before got in my way, so I moved them around again. The 10-stemmed bouquet of tulips in a glass vase on the counter were slowing down my flow, so off they went to the desk. I have a bad habit of reading more than one book at once, so one on the couch got thrown to the desk to accompany two. There's a stapler (I don't remember the last time I used it, but the minute I take it off the desk is the minute I need it to put one and one together). Several journals of various ramblings are piled under and over one another on the desk. A 2010 calendar is at the bottom of the pile somewhere. Pens in a cup are vertical on the corner. Sunglasses, notepads, tacky stuff to put those pictures up on the wall, blank and burned cds, an empty wine class, a digital clock that never gets attention, a checkbook, a frame that holds pictures of past and present Trippers, blank envelopes, a Moleskin, and fingerprints remain on the desk's surface.

My desk is a perfect picture of Trips, of life. So much of it is clutter, but ironically, it is the clutter that is our lives. We are never really together as far as appearance goes. Neatness is just a veil for the reality of chaos and disorder. We all keep pieces of ourselves somewhere. I once had to gather my most valuable pieces when I was living on the top floor of an apartment building. A firetruck already had its ladder leaning against the side of the building and a firefighter was climbing to the top. I threw four notebooks, my cameras, my phone, and 2 letters in a bag and ran down several flights of stairs. Luckily, there was no damage and I returned to my room later that night, but I will never forget having to choose my most valuable possessions.

The flowers on my desk haven't opened up yet; they will soon. I will most likely take book one and book two to bed with me tonight. I might remove a pen from the corner and pick off a journal to write in after I publish this post. There is a chance I will refill my wine glass; it will relocate from desk to bedside table. The framed pictures will remain along with the stapler.

We go through life and through Trips repositioning ourselves, people, and objects. Sometimes we put things off. Sometimes we find ourselves in clutter. That's life. Clutter and chaos... and beauty. In silence and noise, we're all relocating.

Here's to heavy skies, silence, and sturdy desks.


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