Parsimony

My confinement is two weeks old. It has all moved so fast, physically, emotionally, financially. Almost immediately I began preparing my garden in a way that felt different. Although I knew that harvest of the earliest thing, lettuce, was at least 30-40 days away, the task felt prudent as well as distracting. Immediately, I was getting and giving seeds I had on hand, cutting up yogurt containers for homemade plant tags, repurposing objects and dusting others off to get the garden underway.


My grandmother prepared me well for using what is at hand and using items until they are completely exhausted. I was in Seattle for work the third week of February. This event was just about to break loose here. I stay in AirBnBs because they are more comfortable and less expensive than hotels. This all ties together in the poem that came out of my last work trip. I hope you are all doing well, staying busy, staying connected to people you love and doing work at home that keeps you going emotionally.






PARSIMONY

Something this morning set me to thinking of the synthetic fabrics of the ‘60s and my grandmother’s insistence on using every item well past threadbare. My grandmother must have preceded my February Airbnb visits, must have written the description of the blanket on the bed being as milled locally just two centuries ago and not to worry that it appears “lightweight.” I pass my hand over the thin, pilled, faded weave and turn up the heat. My grandmother must be the advisor for the host whose hot water thermostat is dialed in at body temperature, preserving water as well as minimizing the electrical bill. Would she have approved of the powdered creamer that coordinated well with the mid-century furniture or the artificial turf in the side yard? She would not smile at the artwork or care about the spectacular view, and may have clucked her tongue at the paper plates because of the unnecessary garbage generated. My grandmother taught me to recycle, to clean each can, remove its label, smash it, to put the coffee grounds into the garden, to dump the newspapers into the Boy Scout box on the corner near the pharmacy. But she was not an environmentalist; her goals were financial. She was brilliant, if you overlooked her use of DDT and 2, 4-D weed killer. She was an advocate of both breastfeeding and margarine, which shows we do the best we can in our historical moment. I am considering the 700-gram per square meter organic cotton towels for my own Airbnb. She would scowl at the excess.

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