Our office is a little dormer room directly over the front door which looks down on the street and, wonderfully, through a space between two houses to the water guarding the fifth and sixth holes on the Golden Hills golf course. In the winter when the trees are leafless I can see Twelve-Mile Creek glinting in the sun. I refer the office as "my little perch."* From this vantage point (I am sitting there now as I type this post) I have watched a full cycle of the seasons, kept Quicken up-to-date, edited photographs, written letters, talked on the telephone, even kept count of the sometimes numerous FedEx and UPS visits to the street on a given day. And, from here I can almost see into the living room below. It's an hospitable spot.
But, back to the stairs. Having such an inviting and even essential room on the seldom-used second floor means that all sorts of stuff, from paper to camera equipment, has to go one way or another. While on occasion a backpack or a tripod gets left at the foot of the stairs for a time, it's the pickets supporting the bannister that get pressed into use regularly as a sorting device. Catalogs to peruse, documents and labels to shred, bills to pay -- all the stuff that needs to go up, it all ends up there, each category in its own slot. The kitchen counter stays cleared off and I am saved many a climb. Convenient. (The appliances in the laundry room serve much the same purpose for everything needing to go to the garage, from tools that need to be put away to recyclables on their way to the various bins.)
These collection spots make me wonder. I wonder about the considerable and unstoppable amount that comes into the house every day, mostly paper, but there's plenty of plastic, glass, steel, as well. It's staggering, particularly in light of the fact that we are not shoppers for very much beyond groceries -- and then we carry our own bags. We're not bringing home what I call "dustables." It surprises me how much, in our down-sized state, we have to dispose of every day.
It's just the way life is. I know that. But, all of it means something, doesn't it? All that stuff going up the stairs, coming back down, making its way to the garage is made of some raw material, was dreamed up, designed, produced by someone, exists for some purpose and ends up somewhere. It's part of what makes our lives work.
I have an occasional moment, when I'm placing things between the pickets at our stairs, when I realize the considerable time I spend controlling the flow. Then, I consider what life here would be like if I didn't bother to deal with it. Either way, I have a hunch it's more controlling than it is controlled!
How does it seem to you?
* Click here to see a view of the office on a neat day.