7 Tumultuous Takes

7 Tumultuous Takes August 10, 2018

It’s Friday, did you know?
The bookshelf project is nearing its denouement. Matt has done a valiant work, calling forth from wood and espresso colored stain a total of seven book receptacles heretofore not in existence. It has been pretty thrilling to watch. We aren’t in the habit of making things, neither of us. We occasionally lather paint on some plain, bland, boring wall. We both read all the stupid heavy books, and write stuff. We both cook food, which could be construed as “creative-ish,” but I have never been able to fashion anything more than a long knitted strip of cloth, like a scarf sort of, or a really ugly hat. And Matt has mainly dug out portions of the garden, shaping then elegantly and laboriously working in peat, manure, or mulch. But gardening doesn’t really count because it’s God’s providence that calls the flowers into being.

So to actually make something as big and grand as bookshelves that will essentially function as walls for a room, that is practically a divinely expressed creative experience. After the last one was standing there, solid, real, complete, I said, “This is what people who knit socks feel like once they have tied off the last stitch.”

Matt deflated slightly, protesting that constructing whacking great huge bookshelves in no way resembles the fiddly business of knitting a sock. “Really,” I persisted. “You are officially a Creative Being. Next thing you’ll be building a shed and cobbling your own shoes. Too much longer and you’ll be a hipster, or worse, urban homesteading.” He threw down his thingamabob that makes the screws go into the wood really efficiently and went in search of a cold soothing drink. By which I took it that I must never speak such words again.

Seriously, the attic is going to be so great once we finally get the bat extraction under way. But that can’t begin until August 16 when all the little baby bats have grown up enough to fly away. Bat child rearing season is from April 15 to August 15. This is important for you to know, because when you call a bat removal person, and he grins and offers you a “365 day warrantee” he is basically saying that he is not going to do anything useful, and is only referring to the natural lifecycle of the wretched leathery creatures. Anyway, on the sixteenth it’s all systems go to get the colony to leave, and take radical steps to prevent them from ever coming back. But we feel sort of bad, so we’ll probably build them a little bat house on a tree, so that when they swoop silently in on a dusky April 15th, feeling that this was ever their true home, they will find a cunning little house built specially for them.

And don’t worry. We’re not sleeping in the place where they are. We won’t go back in the attic after twilight again until that auspicious day. And actually not even then, not till we’re sure they’re all gone. Then I’ll probably buy a bottle of Prosecco and throw myself a little party.

We all have to endure our various little trials. It’s been helping me all week, when I’ve been inclined to recriminate against God for letting me launch forth on a project that turned out to be a terrible discouraging amount of work, to glance at Twitter and see how the fires in California are continuing to rage, how the church in Rwanda is suddenly facing a difficult and upsetting time, and how the Saudis are suddenly so angry with Canada. Confess I haven’t read anything but the occasional headline. What on earth has Canada done to make the Prince so angry? Have they broken out of their usually mild-mannered, polite apologetic way? Is the whole world being turned upside down? Praying for them all remembering that I am not technically suffering.

Also feel a vaguely charming sadness for Mark Zuckerberg. Confess I do love reading about the downfall of Facebook, when I get the chance. Apparently, YouTube is set to become more popular and more used than that auspicious platform. I don’t usually take joy in the sadnesses of another, but when I do, it’s because that person is not always completely honest about his “data harvesting” and doesn’t know that he isn’t God. Poor man.

Have also taken breaks to make more hummus. So here’s the thing to do, if you want gorgeously smooth creamy hummus. You go all in for the canned chickpeas, not feeling like you’re cheating or anything, but then you gently simmer them in plain ordinary water, no salt or anything, for about twenty minutes or until they are falling apart. Then you strain and cool them, and then go on with whatever amounts of tahini and lime or whatever it is that you normally ladle in. I’ve also found that a tablespoon of local flowery honey makes it that much more sublime. Truly, I have become obsessed.

But I won’t be doing that today. Instead, even though the bowl is empty, I’m going to set my face for one more long slog of book moving. Today I hope to get all the books from the old schoolroom into the new one, and to move all the bins of baby clothes I still can’t bear to look in up to the crawl space behind the last installment of bookshelves. I’ll get my children to haul them up and shove them in and then the shelves will be lovingly placed in front, and stuffed with more books. And there they—all their infant clothes—will lie in the dark shadow of memory until I can finally brace myself to look inside…maybe when I have grandchildren. And in the clear light outside the children will keep growing, keeping getting stronger, and will finally leave me, a crumpled weak shell of myself, hobbling around my attic, probably by then falling down the stairs, remembering that time when we had all those bats and when we moved all those stupid heavy books.

In the meantime, go read more and better takes.

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