I've been working on this post off and on for at least a week. I keep trying to figure out what my point is? Essentially, I'm writing a tribute to a chair. A big overstuffed club chair that has been with me for half of my life. When I started this post, I was thinking about living simply...the idea of it anyway. Thinking about it leads to an exercise in identifying the things...actual touchable, usable things...that are important and the things...passions, commitments, ideas...that are important. My chair hit the first list because it is a touchable, usable thing but it also kind of hit the second list because of its history...the memories...and its current function as my morning nest where I spend time quietly, being in touch with my passions, commitments and ideas.
This all started as I was listening to a conversation about minimalism on public radio. I like the idea of minimalism in theory. But to be honest, probably not in full expression. I like kitchen gadgets, chairs, and shoes--to name a few--too much to dive fully into a minimalist lifestyle. But moving in that direction can't be a bad thing. I have gone through periods of purging...post divorce, post kids going to college, Spring cleaning...and it's true that a 'lighter' house results in a feeling of being a lighter and less cluttered person. And, moving in the direction of a more simple life does help weed out what's important and what isn't.
The most obvious not very important things are shoes and clothes that I haven't worn recently and things that sit eternally in cabinets, drawers or basement storage. The things that seem important but really aren't are things like furniture (mostly chairs) that I like but don't use, kitchen gadgets in that category, and extra stashes of fabric and yarn. Things that really are important are my bicycle, sewing machine, jewelry bench, photographs that my father took and some other art, and the big club chair. Like I said, the club chair is a funny thing to be on the 'most important' list, but because of the history it holds, I'm not getting rid of it.
This chair currently lives in my kitchen. It was made sometime in the 70s, or maybe 60s. I rescued it off the front porch of our next door neighbors before they found time to haul it to the landfill. I was pregnant with my second...who is about to turn 28. Though well used even at that point, it was easy to see that it had good bones. I have made 5 or 6 slipcovers for it over the years and replaced the seat cushion twice. The stories it could tell. I held sleeping babies in that chair, read books to toddlers in that chair, gave it to our sweet yellow lab for a couple of years when he needed a soft place for his old hips to rest and cried my eyes out when he died in that chair. For the past several years, it's been my morning nest. It's where I drink coffee, write in my journal and welcome the day. It's where I search my brain for good ideas and creative energy.
The importance isn't in the physical being of chair of course--except that it is ridiculously comfortable--it's in all this other stuff. A place to remember, a place to be present, a place to dream. A place like that deserves a tribute. Whether it's a place among too many possessions or cushion on the floor of an otherwise empty room, everyone should have a place like that.
Hi, I'm Donna. Long time artisan/creative. Full time work in nonprofit world. Mother of two adult sons. Currently, also mother of two cats.
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