Yes, this is a photograph of Winter. And yes, according to the calendar, it is Spring. But the thermometer hasn't received the memo, at least not here in The Land That Time Forgot. This would normally be the planting weekend, but that will have to wait. And so will we, but the fire's warm and there's now more time for interior Spring cleaning.
Yesterday I took advantage of the more seasonal weather to clean up the yard and I went to gather supplies. Most of the time I like to stay in town, shopping at the local markets. I often doubt there is much savings in traveling to stores with lower prices, as the fuel used in the travel itself eliminates any savings. But about once a month, or so, I go on a trip to stock up on things that I use regularly or the things that cannot find here. While I'm out, I like to stop in at my favorite second hand stores to see if they have anything on my wish/want list. I try to use recycled things whenever possible. I was very lucky at these stores this time, finding a pair of drapes for my living room, a floor lamp, and a country dress. I found some lovely old plates, hand made linen doilies, and old wooden pestles. Some of these will be added to my gift box, and some will be given a new life in my old house.
About an hour into my venture, however, I always long to head back to my little place, the less-busy, prettier place, to shop at the tiny store that reminds me of my childhood. There's something so simple about having less choice and to find ways of making due with something that may be slightly different than what was originally imagined. Dinner menus are never absolute until you have all the ingredients in your cupboard. I remember my mother, a daily shopper, preferring smaller lists and shorter trips. When my children were young, this way of shopping wasn't practical, but now I am appreciating the value in shorter, more frequent shopping trips. I also see the monetary savings to shopping this way, as there is much less waste, buying no more than what I currently need. Of course, having a small country kitchen with few cupboards makes stocking up a little challenging, as extra kitchen storage is found only in the basement.
I am beginning to become comfortable with a life without many schedules and absolutes, where once I embraced my routines and menu plans. I am no longer nervous if I have an empty space on the calendar; in fact I am overjoyed with my "freedom days." Of course, like most, I still have schedules that I have no choice but to keep, but since I do, I try not to make a schedule out of everyday or necessary tasks, and I try to take the stress out of chores. For me, household chores are not work, but quite frankly, what I prefer to do over my paying job. Yes, sometimes to do both is challenging, but I try not to let the part of my life that I enjoy cause stress - hence my current way of handling the food shopping, making it a simple, enjoyable part of my life instead of another chore on a list of others. While so many have diminished the importance of what was once called, and I still proudly call Women's Work, we who know the true value of such things, know that we have nothing to be ashamed of; that it is every bit as valuable as it's always been. It is these kinds of valuable things, however, that are never really appreciated until they aren't present, or until they come with a price tag.
Today I am grateful the warm fire, a freedom day, my old house, my beautiful part of the world, health, love and life with my husband, and all the simple, sacred things.*