Monday, March 8, 2010

On Domesticity

Fig. 1: Laundry Day, February Edition

I've been thinking about domesticity lately, especially as this spring break--for the first time since I moved to Field State in 2007--I am not traveling overseas but am instead spending most of the time, together with my honey, working and puttering around the house. (We leave tomorrow for two nights in Possibly Exciting Northern City.)

I love travel: or rather, I identify myself as someone who loves travel, and I do believe that mostly this is accurate. I've traveled rather a lot (not as much as some people I know, but more than average, for sure). And I used to be haunted by the feeling that I hadn't done as much, or seen as much, as I could/should have done--especially when I was with someone who had lived a particularly nomadic life. The Ex-Boyfriend is one of those: He's been more or less everywhere by now, I think, and even though he's employed in the Legal Profession, he's managed to work things out so that he's spent the last two years on two different coasts.

But with age--and I have reached the Age of Perfection, after all, even though its remaining months are numbered--I've come to see that what I like, most of all, is coming home.

Fig. 2: Laundry Day, Moody Edition

Case in point: Last summer's month in France. Fabulous! Of course! But from almost the beginning I was looking forward to the pleasure of returning to our newly-moved-into little rented house, our garden, our cats, our...everything. Laundry, even. For truly, I do love doing the laundry, especially if I can hang it up (and we have a wonderful clothesline in the backyard).

When I think of such things, I'm reminded of that poet who is quoted with such irritating frequency and sanctimoniousness of spirit, but whom I do actually like--Rumi. Thus:

Either this deep desire of mine
will be found on this journey,
or when I get back home!

It may be that the satisfaction I need
depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone
and come back, I’ll find it at home.

-"In Baghdad, Dreaming of Cairo: In Cairo, Dreaming of Baghdad"

But most importantly, in The Minister I've found a partner who shares a commitment to the pleasures and comforts of home. Our time together is spent in domesticity: We cook (though he does most of it); we make things from scratch (me: yogurt, granola, pizza, pesto; he: creme fraiche, creme brulee, buttermilk, butter--basically anything to use up the remaining cream from our weekly milk jars--and most of our fancy breads, though I make a tasty one with onions and walnuts); things are put away; we spend our evenings reading and working and occasionally watching a show through Netflix. We go to bed early. We garden and eat what we grow. We have a candle on our table at dinner every night and we almost always have a glass of wine--it's comforting, it's civil, it's civilized. There is great reassurance in all of these things.

Is it a sign of psychological fragility that having a stable and well-ordered environment is so important to me? I don't actually think so--although it does make it particularly difficult for me to spend long periods of time (like, days) at other people's messy houses. But if it does, so be it; I'm pretty happy like this.

What I'm really driving at here is how nice it is to have married a person with whom I can live, in the day-to-day sense, in such a perfectly comfortable way.

Oh, and the cats like it, too. Here's visual evidence of how utterly they are spoiled:

Fig. 3: Pertelote on the Pillow Pile

I do believe she'd know it if there were a pea under there.


Dr. Crazy said...

Ok, I love the kitty picture in part because Pertelote looks like Mr. Stripey but even more because it's such a princess and the pea situation:)

Sisyphus said...

what a lovely post! Just warning you, I may sneak over and steal some of those cool pillows. :)

medieval woman said...

it's not at all psychological fragility to enjoy such domestic bliss - it's lovely! You both like to nest and be together - that's the best part! I'm very very happy for you... :)

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I *love* that first laundry photo. really, it's fantastic.

Flavia said...

Another voice chiming in to say how lovely this post is, and what a chord it strikes with me--I think part of being an adult is recognizing that wherever you (and, ideally, your loved ones) are is home. And/but if that's true, we usually want to see & enjoy the creation of a home that reflects that love.

Maude said...

I adore this post, especially the sock photos. Love it!!