Ashes

Sweeping the leaves out of the entry hall, I decided I should wash the dust and grime off the flower vases and other bric-brac. After cleaning down to that layer, I resigned myself to the fact that it is time to move the summer things back to their places, since we are months into summer. The large Italian platter belongs in front of the fireplace, but lives in the entry hall during the winters when we’re building fires. Now that the temperatures are climbing into the mid-90s every day, it’s unlikely that we will be building a fire anytime soon. Time to clean out the fireplace. This is how these projects get out of hand. Two hours ago, I was just going to sweep the entryway.

I build a fire at the slightest drop of temperature. Nothing seems more homey than sitting curled under a blanket on the couch, in front of a fire, reading, and sipping sherry. Then I get the craving to read certain books: Jane Eyre, especially when she and Mr. Rochester are first getting to know each other in front of the fire in the sitting room; The Valley of Horses; Pride and Prejudice. I’m much more of a winter reader than a summer reader. Winter is the pleasure of snuggling up with a long book. Summer just makes me restless, hot and uneasy–unable to settle to anything. In summer, even the blurbs in the Common Reader Catalog are too long to hold my interest.

The ashes are filled with bones. I always burn the chicken and turkey carcasses so that I can scatter their bones in the garden.

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The surface and beneath the surface