Winter Cleaning

A mostly clean desk.

A mostly clean desk.

Some people look at a beautiful meadow or vast forest and see a wasted space that must be filled: by shopping centers, parking lots, housing developments, or warehouses. I do not share this view. I treasure the empty spaces in the world, because they aren’t really empty. They are filled with life and beauty and silence and the voices of the creatures with whom we share this world.

On the other hand, when it comes to a tabletop or desk, my mind abhors a vacuum. Yesterday I cleaned off my desk for the first time in years. Ever since, whenever I need to put something down, my hand inexorably moves toward that pristine surface. It  jars the eye. It stands out. It doesn’t belong. In a house where nearly every horizontal surface is covered with objects that never quite made it back to their proper places, this shiny wooden desk murmurs softly: “Fill me up, you know you want to.”

So far, I have resisted the impulse to sully this invitingly empty space. In fact, it has inspired me to put more things away, and dust more objects, and vacuum a little further into the corners to reach the dust bunnies that have grown with neglect into dust elephants.

Usually, as Spring begins to poke its welcome nose into the affairs of Winter, the scent of thawing earth inspires me to throw wide the windows and doors and commit a neatness upon the cooped up stuffiness of my wintrified house. This year I seem to be a bit early. Maybe Spring could take the hint.

Gail Hunn ©2014