Arduous Magic

Heat follows me into the house. Around the edges of the fields fleece-laden sheep graze shaded grass. Fat Beagle, our houseguest for the week, struggles to clamber up to the cool sofa leather. Dog watches derisively. She curls her lips when he wanders close. She curls up next to him when he whimpers. Not love and hate; comfort and scorn.
I make coffee and leave it to cool. I fetch my laptop from the cupboard that is my office. It is an old Mac, bought with a redundancy payout in 2006. I dropped it once, halting the terrible fall with my broken foot: literally, a painful experience. The casing fractured. The plastic splinter is still held in place by a sticker from a Thornton’s chocolate. Thus it became an object both useful and quirky.
Stuff I own is on my mind, today. I will not classify it as a painful occurrence, but I do not deny being discomforted. Moving from a sprawling crumble of a house, to a neat cottage, not all of our possessions will fit.
I believe that life is more important than stuff. Today I start to find out how strong that belief is. I challenge myself to a fierce strict clear out, in preparation for moving on. Can I relinquish the stuffed red squirrel? The dressing up box? All of the freaky fantastical objects from the Cabinet of Curiosities? This stuff is imbued with overwhelming sentiment and memory and crazy ideas.
Will the baby of inspiration be thrown out with the bathwater of emancipation?
I take a dramatic pause, to drink my cold coffee. Sensation is inspiration, I tell myself. I stop talking to myself. Bitter stimulus performs arduous magic.
Today, we live at Rosehill, observing the strange beauty of decay, snuggled in dangerous clutter, like dotty faded gentry. The roof is collapsing.  In living for the present we risk hiding from the future.
I will make a list of what will fit into our next home, what will fit the pared down life.
On the other side of this purging act, I perceive myself, liberated, in a lucid space.

(The forms for the letting agency credit check came today. A big cheque is required. Fear kicks in. This is all we have. We are lying in the magician’s box while he sharpens up the chainsaw. We know what the trick is. Repeat the mantra, hold your nerve.)


Botanist said…
Sounds like your search has been successful. Congratulations!

It's good to have a de-clutter, but it sometimes pays to listen to the voice of sentiment. Some of those "useless" things are like an external hard drive - things that help unlock your own memory. Maybe you can do without, but it's worth asking yourself first if you really do want to lose those memories.
Lynn Proctor said…
you can do it--sorry to tell you in case you were getting rid of it but i love that painting!
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you Mr Botanist- good advice- and we have been offered some storage space which is good news for squirrel in particular.
And Lynn, I love your encouragement! The painting is safe, it's in a precious sketchbook :-)
Suze said…
Lil, I'm speechless. Please forgive my articulation but this is so fucking well-written!

Honey, I'm sorry, I know my response should be more about what you have written but I am just slack-jawed at how you have done so.

Is it any tiny consolation at all that I'm just in awe of your command? Probably not. Fool blogger that I am -- but I just need you to know how much I relish your artistry.

Sending up prayers for you like breathing.
Lisa Southard said…
Suze, imagine you have been to some great lengths to make or find a present for your daughter, and when she unwraps the gift, she drops her jaw, her eyes are full of delight, she is so amazed by what you have done- how you are feeling at that point, that's how this praise feels. With the added pleasure that you also appreciate how much work these words represent!
I'm writing the big cheque today, prayers are good!! :-) xx
Anonymous said…
I really enjoy having a clear out. I mean, who wants to live in a past you can't change. I find a clear out good for our aspirations. And yes Lisa that was bloody well written!
You are right indeed, life is much more important than all the things around us. Great writing Lily.

Jan's place...
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you, Anon & Jan, and agree on the therapeutic aspect of clearing stuff. As long as the baby of inspiration doesn't get dumped- it will be an interesting process :-)
Jess Schira said…
What a lovely post. Good luck with the de-cluttering. I love the picture, it's stunning.
Suze said…
Have read your response.

Am sending love and prayers and good wishes and, ah, what I wouldn't give to send over a fat cauldron of wishbone soup.

We had the best rum and cherry Coke last night with sandwiches (I adore sandwiches.) Would send over a bit of that, too. With jam.


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