I've been here in Kamloops for six days now, and after a bit of a rocky start, life is starting to unfurl beautifully. I must admit that when I first got here, I sat down and cried. I had left a spotless house; a home containing a multi-layered patina of love which reflected off the polished surface of every nook and cranny of it.
I walked into a place that was filthy. A cleaning crew was supposed to have gone through the entire condo which had sat empty for several months. However, apart from steam-cleaning the carpets, no other cleaning had been done at all. Furniture and boxes were piled high everywhere, and for a short time, I couldn't see beyond what was immediately before me. Four litres of bleach and many, many buckets of soap and water later, my aching knees can attest to the fact that our condo now shines with cleanliness.
The first thing I did that garbled day, after rousing myself from my watery indulgence, was to make the bed. As I smoothed the linen and looked out the window at the mountains, my ragged edges started to find some solace. I was reminded of one of my favourite poems by the wonderful Rupert Brooke, “The Great Lover”, which details the many splendid ways that life seduces us with the simple beauty of the ordinary.
“Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon,
Smooth away trouble;”
I have spent these past six days cleaning and sorting and arranging. The rooms of the condo are starting to bear the mark of our presence. The views from every window are a gift; the mountains, the river, the green lawns and mature trees. It is slowly becoming a place to contain my dreams, my peace and passions, my stillness and laughter. Sometimes, though, I feel my heart holding back, fighting the tiny rootlets of belonging. My ego is reluctant to let go of the familiar, as if doing so would somehow negate past loves. Absurd, I know. I realise that I need to embrace both together, to affirm a whole and balanced beauty.
(The ground floor patio.)