i wrote an email today and explained my delayed response: “i totally spaced it off.” i realize i’ve used that phrase with a bit self loathing: i let something float off into space, beyond my head, untethered and forgotten, a pesky thing to gather up.
yet as soon as i wrote that today, i had a new thought: spacing it off like partitioning it off, like walling it off, like tucking it away, fragments of life getting their own space.
spaced off like in a box lined up with others: be it a cloth covered with a layer of batting between or cardboard with clear tape or beer box tattered and reused. or spaced off like in a garden with gathered stones making sections or store bought timbers that warp after the first rain.
then i remembered the the homes i used to draw: intricate rooms that were hidden inside of each other, only accessible by going through the other rooms. each room was named, each room had a color and the babies lived in the center spaces, with a mini kitchen and bathroom and outdoor courtyard right there.
this is it. this is how i work hard. things and people and feelings and thoughts and tasks and ideas and doctrine and lists get put in a space. and depending on where i am, that space may be forgotten. not because it’s not important, not because i don’t care…because i’m simply not there.
maybe i’m going through another box, slitting the tape with my favorite knife, opening flaps that have barely been creased before and finding more boxes, neat and tidy, intentionally placed waiting for when i had time to open each one.
maybe i’m daring to feel the synthetic cush of the lacy calico covered box, a fake gift with hardened glue yellowed over the years. maybe i’m daring to face the emptiness of it, only a confusing stale sweet smell remaining with a photo or two.
maybe i’m diving into the old beer box, the resourceful and lively collection of things once cast off. things i used to hide and call shame. things that make me smile now like a cat who knows a secret. things i move to my altar and bathe in sun.
maybe i’m in the garden, squatting on the stones, making new creases on my feet, dancing the dirt between mounds and plains. a little square of earth complete in itself. the granddaughters of worms i used to carry in my pockets surface to visit, pooling water their ocean, sun and wind and moon for us all.
maybe i’m standing over the warped timbers, plastic sheathed hoe in my hand, irritable hard dirt splitting beneath my strength, lipstick on a pig obvious, welling compassion to make this new, telling the dirt it’s not her fault that she’s like this now.
and always i’m in the house of myself. the invisible house surrounded by gates and secret booby traps. the house with magic walls that build themselves up in seconds yet take mere attention to lower. over and over. notice. lower. notice. open. notice. soften. notice. tend. notice.
widen the baby’s room, go through the boxes, open the courtyard, cook outside, bathe in the stream.
make the spaces one.