the order of things

I live with a rack of empty jars. They have been background for a long time, all sitting there waiting to be filled. I notice them in the dim morning light as I look around for a container to pour the gorgeous pink salt Molly has travelled home with. She loves this salt. It is the only food item she has brought into the kitchen since she arrived. It is the real deal.

Within moments of landing in the room I have given over to her, Molly re-arranged the furniture. I affectionately refer to as ‘the dorm room’, three single beds that have often been filled with three friends visiting at a time, to my parents and Ben at Christmas. It is a generous room which invites participation. Molly needed to create a sense of order here that was hers. I resisted of course. The order of the room as I had made it felt right to me. It had never occurred to me to make a change. I finally yielded, and was rewarded with the experience of a new order that also felt just right. Molly’s order, but order I could embrace too. As an architect I considered how confident I have become in the experience of order that I make for others. and how settled I have become in being able to live in the daily order of my own making. I loved that Molly, in just a few short moments, was able to shift me out of a stuck place. The room quickly filled with her things and her essence, becoming a safe place for her cat Jupiter as he adjusts to life in a new country with two strange non-Peruvian dogs and their human.


After filing two jars with the salt, I looked around, then grabbed the oil soaked rag under the sink and began to dust the surfaces that were calling out loudly in the sunlight, knowing I wouldn’t be able to settle into the day until the surfaces gleamed the gleam of saturated, well nourished wood. I felt how the rhythm of my own brand of experience of the order of things that I respond to can condition every movement of my day, putting items in their places, sweeping floors, adding two more pieces to the quilt, clearing counters, three more rows of knitting, stacking a little more wood, making the bed, and so on….

I took a photo the other day that I keep thinking about.


There is something about the collaboration of stone and wood and air in this particular place that has called to me every time I’ve walked by. On that day the sun and foliage were in just the right place for me to see the order that I typically only felt there. There is no explanation for why this image should invoke a sense of order for me, but it does. It is simply a quality of order that I seek to embody and flow through in all I do. It is what sometimes take months to find expression in a design or a quilt or a chapter of prose. And when it finally does, it is because it is right in front of me and I have finally yielded to it.

The order of home is now changing as I continue to yield to my beautiful daughter’s presence and way. Every little modification is a revelation, and an opportunity to revel in the joy of true and new at the same time. There’s nothing like an adult child coming home to live to stir things up. Even Jupiter is now venturing out of the room, considering his options.


Now, when I look at the rack of empty jars, I see only the potential of what will fill them.

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