Saturday, January 17, 2015


Here is a thing about me. I'm really bad at relaxing.

Seems like I will just get settled down to watch TV or read a book, and suddenly my eye is distracted by some sort of mess or clutter that I cannot abide. All peace and contentment leaves my soul, and I can think of nothing but fixing what bothers me.

And in two shakes of a lamb's tail, I am up and dusting, sorting, rearranging, or doing whatever it takes to restore order and beauty to my little corner of the universe.

What can I say. I'm crazy like that.

So this week, with a stack of new books on hand and burning desire to read them, I decided to make a preemptive strike. Before cracking open the first cover, I sat myself down on the couch and took a good long look at the scenery from my designated reading spot. Then I put all my obsessive energy to work on perfecting that view so I would find nothing to distract me from the lovely leisure of my books.

I put my work to the test this morning as I sat down for my first reading session. Here is what met my eye.

The coffee table is stripped down to the bare essentials: a woodsy succulent, a watchful owl, and - for my reading pleasure - the 2014 Newberry Medal winners.

Morning sunlight warms the little nook across the room, and the ever-present twinkle lights add some sparkle. I don't even mind that cat toy down by the baseboard; it almost looks like it belongs there. 

For Christmas, this round dish was full of glittery golden candles, and I loved it. But in the quiet margins of January, this simple arrangement feels rustic and natural and just right.

About four years ago, my fourth-born origami maven made this insanely complex squirrel. I have kept him all this time, knowing that sooner or later, the perfect place would appear for him to live. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I tucked him into this mod shadow box, and now whenever I see him there, I feel peace like a river. 

And it was also about four years ago that I began collecting second-hand globes. I love them for their gorgeous round shapes and soft colors, and I always keep at least one of them turned so that Vietnam and Malaysia - two places near and dear to my heart - are visible.

And lest I forget, my books. 

Hallelujah. My strategy worked! Each time I glanced up from the page and let my gaze flit around the room, I felt nothing but the sweet sense of satisfaction from seeing these orderly sights.

I read for well over an hour, enjoying the shifting angles of the sun as it slowly crossed the room and the gentle snores of my companionable boy, Ranger, who napped on the couch at my side.

And now I can't wait until tomorrow, when we can do all over again.

I may just get the hang of this relaxing thing after all.

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