Henry's Pillow 2

It’s autumn.  Time for apple cider and the annual ugly chest cold.  Time to put away shorts and see if the crotch in any of my old jeans will embarrass me in public.  Time to start work on my Solstice cards and pull out my Happy Light.

I love autumn, even if the waning light makes me think St. John of the Cross was probably bipolar and talking about winter when he coined the term dark night of the soul.  I love the smell of corn dust and how it hangs in the air.  I love the slant of the sun as it hits a golden point on its arc, how it burns through a single, curry-colored leaf stuck in the weeds.

I’m profoundly aware of how much I’m enjoying autumn this year.  Even with bronchitis and a pantheon of prescription inhalers on my counter, I watch the squirrels in their pre-winter frenzy and feel joy rise up.  Like a breath.  Like a sigh.  Clear lungs are not required.

I’ve had moments of bipolarness over the past five months.  Moments—not days or weeks or months.  Moments where the illness broke through to remind me to stay sharp.  I can’t go back to sleep.  And I also don’t fight or fret when the illness presents itself.  This is me, too.  All of this is me.

New BookcaseMy energy amazed me, and the way my mind opened to possibility and change.  Over the summer, I catalogued my apartment—the rotting furniture, the squeeze and mess of a tiny space, all the ways I made do when the idea of doing more overwhelmed me.  Getting a new bathtub and replacing the damaged linoleum floor suddenly made anything possible.

On my trips to Minneapolis to see friends, I also visited IKEA.  I gave away or trashed furniture that was too big, too ruined or too inefficient and replaced it with four beautiful pieces put together with my own two hands plus one great recliner from the Club Furniture.  Now our living room fits us.  There’s room for the cats to chase each other, new places to nap, and a more inviting entry (rather than sliding in sideways and banging a hip on some ouchy corner).

Cabinet Before


Cabinet After


Desk Before


Desk After


I’m also working on more efficient storage.  I installed roll-out, metal baskets under my kitchen sink and bathroom vanity.  I cleaned out a skinny cupboard in the kitchen, found tubs that fit the narrow space, and got seldom-used art supplies out of the way.





valje-wall-cabinet-red__0290149_PE424853_S4IKEA carries a wall cabinet—basically, an open box with mounting hardware.  I tossed the hardware and stacked two of those on my coat closet shelf to wrangle the magazines I glean for greeting card captions (My closets have lots of height, so I’m always looking for stackables).  There was plenty of room left over to store other crafty stuff.  No more cascades of musty magazines when I get out the broom.

Autumn is the season for nesting.  We make ourselves snug and warm, surround ourselves with treasures and love, settle in for the long winter.  Nesting makes a place a home.  We should find comfort and relief there.  And joy.

Sitting here at my desk, with Henry curled on his pillow, I listen to James Vincent McMorrow and feel my home breathing with me.

A moment of joy.

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen
    Nov 03, 2015 @ 20:12:20

    You’re writing is breath-taking, Sandy.


  2. radiatingblossom
    Nov 03, 2015 @ 20:23:50

    “I love the slant of the sun as it hits a golden point on its arc, how it burns through a single, curry-colored leaf stuck in the weeds.” Ah, such loveliness, such wonderful words. It all sounds and looks wonderful, Sandy Sue! 🙂


  3. Littlesundog
    Nov 03, 2015 @ 21:01:08

    What a lovely post about readying for the cool and cold months. You have made some wonderful and quite functional changes – so organized! I hope your health will improve… that respiratory crud seems to hang on forever. Keep after it my friend… you will preVAIL!!! 🙂


  4. David Kanigan
    Nov 04, 2015 @ 01:37:54

    Love the music. Love the post. And love the Halloween card Sandy. Thank you!


  5. Leslie
    Nov 04, 2015 @ 03:51:09

    Such a wonderful, vivid post! I love the fall. Opening the windows and letting out the stale, humid air from a too hot summer. Pulling out boxes of decorations. I actually (when I’m up for it-thanks bipolar) prefer to do my whole massive cleaning of the house in the fall and not the spring.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling poorly. Lots of water and rest!!!!!


    • Sandy Sue
      Nov 04, 2015 @ 13:52:09

      Cleaning in the fall makes total sense to me. I suppose gardeners do that—maybe we’re following ancient genetic signals. I like thinking of my Neanderthal-self delousing the furs for winter.


      • Leslie
        Nov 04, 2015 @ 15:27:38

        I look as spring as the time when you get everything out and fluff it all up. Fall is when you wash everything and put it away

  6. Val Boyko
    Nov 04, 2015 @ 09:16:20

    Making space creates clarity and new possibilities for the winter ahead 😊


  7. pegoleg
    Nov 05, 2015 @ 08:48:33

    Love the idea of cleaning out and reorganizing – it always makes me feel accomplished. And fall is My favorite time as well, but the time change has me stymied since I can’t go for a walk after work anymore. 😦


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