Friday, October 12, 2012

Autumn Puttering -- That's What Rainy Days Are For!

After weeks of record-breaking drought (the driest September ever recorded in Vancouver; here in Nanaimo, the driest since 1998, which had broken all previous). . . . it's baaaaack!

Yes, we can almost hear the ground slurping the moisture, and even though well on their way to winter dormancy, the chlorophyll taps having been turned off across the garden, the trees and shrubs and perennials seem to be standing taller this morning, looking much more alert.

Or perhaps they're just remembering this light . . . 

Or this triumphant act of denial . . . 

Or this last collective sigh of early-autumn light before the green leaves us and even the coloured leaves get stripped away by wind and rain. . . .
As for me, I have the house to myself this weekend and am puttering my way to a healthier p(l)ace.  I have been craving a quiet chance to follow my own rhythms, and the grey windy day outside enforces my indulgence agreeably.  I made myself French toast for breakfast, ate it in my pink-and-brown striped Bedhead pyjamas, then jammed myself into an old pair of rubber boots to stomp out to the woodshed and chop some kindling. The fire was a bit reluctant to get started, but I coaxed it, and now the fan atop the woodstove is spinning its lovely heat through the house.

I sit down to read for a few minutes, then remember an assignment I need to write up for one of my classes, so I jump up to grab my yellow-lined foolscap pad. Back in my armchair, I jot down the beginning of the assignment, then turn the page to begin another list. Too restless to read now, instead I pick up the cobweb-lace scarf I'm knitting -- the intricacies of the pattern are demanding enough to hold me in the moment, at least on the Knit side with its yarnovers and slip-two-together-knit-one-cross-slipped-stitches-overs and make-one-Lefts and make-one-Rights. On the Purl side, though, nothing stops me from drifting back to worry about the Big Literary Event I'm convening next week. More list-jotting.

A few rows finished, I get up to put another log in the woodstove. While I'm up, the dryer pings, so I unload the scrumptiously warm clean sheets and take them up to make our bed, anticipating the comfort I'll feel tonight sliding into their freshness. I straighten the room a bit, gather up some laundry and start another load. Then, inevitably, I'm back at the keyboard, wending my way through various blogs, checking the news, writing a few e-mails. I even check my work e-mail, answer a few messages and begin typing up the assignment I'd started planning earlier. Despite having promised myself I could have the day completely free of work, being led here, in such a roundabout manner by my Puttering, I choose to work IF the spirit so strikes me.

And to stop again to take the compost out to the bin in the back garden.

So it goes. So it will go, all day long, I hope. Tomorrow's schedule is set slightly more firmly (a long run, a trip to town, reading/writing that Must be done), but today is Puttering at my pace all day long. Puttering and Napping. I'm a big believer in their therapeutic properties. Indeed, I would argue that they are both surprisingly productive and foundational to creativity, at least for me. What about you? Do/Can you Putter, if not Nap? When was the last time you interrupted your work to schedule a very productive Puttering/Napping Session? Are you running to write one into your Calendar right now?

22 comments:

  1. Oooh, this sounds delightful. I haven't had a puttery day like that for a long time. As you suggest, perhaps it's time to schedule one in. Wandering from activity to task to chores with aimless purpose would be utterly relaxing. Enjoy every moment!

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    1. Thanks! I will! And I hope you manage such a day before too long.

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  2. I adore puttering! And rainy weather is perfect for it. I have accomplished absolutely nothing of consequence today. I had big plans this morning, but let the day unfold like a stream of consciousness. No knitting got done either! I find really challenging cables and color changes can keep me more focused...sometimes.
    Have a beautiful weekend.

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    1. Sometimes that's the best way for a day to unfold. We're too often moving through the day with our noses to our lists, missing what's around us. Have a good weekend yourself!

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  3. Oh I love having a day to putter about...
    it's those days that I find I get the most accomplished and often the tasks just randomly present themselves....a junk drawer tidied up...mending of closet purging.

    Enjoy your weekend! It sounds wonderful.

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    1. I have a junk drawer or three to tidy, now that you mention it . . .
      hope you find your red shoes -- have a good weekend!

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  4. Ah yes, another fan of puttering here--and a believer in its restorative properties. But then I also think it's a great virtue to be easily pleased (e.g. your warm sheets) and especially a great virtue to be easily amused. Elle

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    1. Being able to appreciate life's simple pleasures is really a gift -- and one we should nurture, right?

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  5. Retirement is the putterer's paradise! I both putter and nap on many days. G;ad you have time to do so, no to-do list is restorative.

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    1. Retirement looks increasingly attractive! My body rhythm really likes an afternoon nap, and of course I can only manage that on weekends now (altho' I sometimes think of rigging a George Costanza hammock in my office . . . )

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  6. Oh yes! I am terribly in need of a good putter but must go up to Dad's house to celebrate my birthday and my brother's. Oof. It's bad when even a celebration feels like work. Enjoy!

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    1. I've caught myself doing that before, talking about what a busy day I have and then realizing it's all stuff that should be considered fun. I hope you find some downtime all to yourself and soon! Meanwhile, Happy Birthday!!

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  7. You describe such a perfect day: reading, knitting, a nap, a fire in the woodstove... It makes me wish for a rainy day here.

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    1. It's a rather nice combo, isn't it? And I know we'll have rainy days to spare. . . this is just the beginning!

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  8. I love puttering and am a firm believer in its restorative properties. It is one of the things I have lost since my father in law came to live with us and my husband cut back his hours at work to share looking after him. For me a real putter requires there to be no one else in the house, imposing their own pace and diary, however unintentionally. I have retrieved my solitude by bringing in the shepherd's hut and that is wonderful for reading and writing but has no real element of domestic putter. That will have to be enough for now!

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    1. Oh, you and I are so on the same wavelength. I love my husband dearly, and he's not needy or interfering at all, but since he's retired (he works about two days a week on contracts, but from home), I've lost the space to myself I had for the last ten years or so when we worked in different cities during the week.
      True puttering, you're absolutely correct, means not having to be self-conscious about how one spends one's time. Feeling any possibility of judgement changes the tone of the free schedule drastically. That's why I'm absolutely revelling in this weekend's solitude. Others might find it too quiet, but I'm in my glory!

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  9. Like Elizabeth, I feel somewhat constrained by my stay-at-home husband. Puttering just isn't the same when one has company - not that I'd wish him away....perhaps just to the Home Depot. I find that puttering is a rare luxury when one has to work full-time. A true luxury.

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    1. Yes, puttering is so luxurious! And not at all the same with company.

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  10. I totally agree about the puttering. It must be done alone - or else you feel you should be (seen to be) 'doing' something. And it is essential to my mental health. If I can't find a day every month or so to do whatever comes up (preferably not work), I feel drained and stressed.

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    1. I'm grinning to find you here, Tiffany -- hope all's going well. I do miss your blog!
      And I'm so pleased to find I'm not alone in craving Putter time on my own.

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  11. You've nailed it - i miss my puttering. Though I'm desperate to get back into salaried employment I worry that my puttering habit might eventually sabotage my efforts ...

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    1. It's a constant balancing act, isn't it?!

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