Robert Farrar Capon describes the universe being about as necessary to God as "the orange peel in God's closet-- He keeps it because he likes it." Somehow the picture in my mind is a long twisting orange peel, all in one piece, which is, of course, the way I peel an orange when I am paying attention and the peel is just right. I imagine the nail in the closet, the peel dangling right next to an extra key for something, emitting an aroma sweet as orange but bitter to the taste. With that image in mind, God's great affection for small, dear things, I love to consider the small things so endearing in everyday life. I write this list with Cat Stevens' "Oh, Very Young" playing in my mind also, such a lovely ode to a pair of favorite jeans. And is it Zephaniah or Zechariah who says that even the cowbells and the pots and pans will be inscribed with "sacred to the Lord" in that good time when the leaves of the trees will be for the healing of the nations?
It is the long and winding end to winter, and inspiration is low. How good to think of life's small sweetnesses, little graces that keep us going. Here is my odd and on-going list of things I like:
1. my 1996 Jetta
Imagine a ten-year-old car with working accessories and 35 miles per gallon. I haven't loved any automobile so much since my first 1986 Sentra, and this car is much peppier and more comfortable, while still being the size of tuna can. In the past two weeks, it has taken my family on a major road trip and has endured coffee and orange juice spills in areas completely impossible to clean. Still, I will try, as it's the nicest car I've ever owned.
2. my Blunnies
Blundstone Australian workboots in "stout brown," which is almost black, and round toes (neither square nor pointy), AND waterproof. Blunnies have these ribbon tab pulls to tug on and off, and they manage in snow, mud, rain, shorts. Got mine on eBay for $80, shipped from Tasmania with a toy koala...
3. hand-knitted earflap hats
"The Acorn Heads," my childrens' friends call them in winter, with their nut-brown hats dangling braids of yarn.
4. my bay window
This window turns my tiny condo into a sunny treehouse with a view of the harbor.
5. block crayons
I love crayon rubbings, and I love bright colors. I need to color more with my children, but when I do, my pictures go right onto the refrigerator, with magnets.
6. Pampered Chef garlic press
Pay the $20 for it. It's worth its weight in gold.
7. sandalwood oil
In various periodicals, I have seen sandalwood described as a) a mosquito repellant, b) an anti-depressant, and c) an aphrodisiac. What more can a gal ask for in a scent? Practical and gorgeous-- my friend Elizabeth says I smell like a hippie. "But that's good," she adds.
8. girl stuff-- a beautiful red bag, a burgundy scarf, my favorite earrings
The bright red Slovakian bag is lined with suede and trimmed with leather, a gift from my husband that I felt I did not deserve. The black and burgundy batik scarf is from my brothers, long ago, the first article of clothing anyone chose for me that I liked. Neither the bag nor the scarf match each other nor the favorite earrings, so of course I insist on wearing them together. It works.
9. microfleece long skirt
Looks like formalwear, wears like pajamas. I like that in a clothing item.
10. digital camera
When the children look lovely but the parents look exhausted, why not cut out the parents and look at the photo of the children? Scott and I should keep files of joke photos titled, "Foreheads" and "Chins," "Bad Hair" and "Bad Angle." But we don't-- we have a delete key.
Perhaps you will think of some inanimate objects you like. Let me know. And survive winter.