My own workbench is standing alone and neglected this week. I am helping unpack my parents’ worldly goods as they return to their repaired and repainted home. They have been living out of suitcases for 8 weeks or so, and are eager to get back to the business of living their lives in their own surroundings once more.
It is a mission unwrapping. Not only are the things you think about, the treasures and useful daily pots, pans and china, but also the contents of the cupboards that you cook with. Bottles, tins, and jars will all sorts of contents – some of which are unidentifiable and mysterious, bearing labels that date back quite a while longer than they should! Odd remains of powders and dried fruits, things that look dubious but, I am assured, they are for curing meat. (When was the last time she even did that?).
All these things have to be unwrapped, identified, and given resting places in the cupboards. It is a long job, and will be on-going for a few weeks ahead. We have cleared the kitchen and made access in and out of the house clear so the rest will be spread over time as it is not quite so pressing.
My favourite part in this is going through all the things stored in the hot water cupboard. Embroidered mats for tea trays and dressing tables, table napkins with lace work, appliques and openwork. Table cloths that come out on special occasions, or which have never seen the light of day but are treasured. All sorts of pretty things that the ladies that have gone before us created for their homes, or as gifts. It is a colourful trip back into different times when hand sewing ruled and your ability to sew a fine seam was prized.
After 2 days with my head in these boxes I have taken a break to sit at the sea and stretch my eyes along the horizon. The tide is in and there is sunshine following the stormy weather we have experienced overnight. Fresh, clean air with the local birds out in their spring finery, diving for fish as the tide turns.
Life just keeps on going, regardless of our dramas, personal or cosmic. I need to be reminded of my small part in all this and the sea is the place for me to catch up with myself. Small under the sky and on the edge of the ocean, large in the eye of the birds nearby. Just me, in this body that gets me about and this mind that is so busy with itself. Me and the wind, the sea, and the sun on my face…. ahhh