My desk has all the symbolic elements for the contentment of a little old lady like me. It has light, (a good lamp,) a computer, (key to the vast outside world,) and a mirror, (the reflection of a home full of memories and present day living.) The mirror is one of those vanity table affairs, three-way. I got it at a Salvation Army thrift shop, caught up in the whimsy of it, and then didn’t know where to put it. Some time ago I almost took it out to the dumpster where it could catch someone else’s whimsy but then I thought of my computer desk. Sitting to one side of the computer's monitor it could provide me with more than a wall to glance at. I’d see the room, my Inside.
The lamp that sits by the mirror is a tall white ceramic fellow. He’s been in the family perhaps longer than any other household object. Got him at the Post Exchange on the Marine Air Base in Cherry Point, N.C. He occupied the first of our many homes, a brand new pre-fab set among tall skinny pine trees in a place called Havelock Park. That lamp has survived countless trips on huge moving vans across the country as we moved from pillar to post with the Marines.
The computer, an Apple, is my buddy. It has on its monitor a big blue Earth as seen from outer space, sailing along in the vast black sea of space. It symbolizes answers to questions, far away places, wonder, magic, the reaching of our human hearts into the vast unknown, and yet the glorious glimpse of our magnificent earthly Home.
Inside my world, outside my world, and a bright lamp for the early morning and late night hours when I consult Apple. This kind of observation is what gives my heart solace as I sit eating breakfast in the early morning hours during the dawn of a new day. My home comforts me with all its furnishings. The newest thing is the bicycle clock hanging over the sofa. Its front wheel is a round clock. The rest of it is slender black wrought iron. A gift certificate, “We haven’t seen you in quite a while; this $10.00 gift certificate is yours if you come back and spend at least $40.00.” The thing had been burning a hole in my pocket so I bit. Not that I minded shopping at Pier One. I love that store! Well, when I saw this charming bicycle clock priced at nearly the required amount at first I resisted and walked out. It haunted me the rest of the day and night. I went back the next day and got it. An object of art that speaks of past travels and present moments. It’s right at home with the old-timers now.
As much as I treasure the objects in my home they don’t hold a candle to the living, breathing ones who occupy this dear place. There’s Katie, my granddaughter of 23 who is waiting for her husband to get out of jail. (Yes, you’ve heard about that.) She’s asleep with her little Chihuahua in the next room. (Nobody gets up at five like I do.) And there’s a beautiful red canary sitting in the kitchen window who reluctantly un-fluffs his feathers when I come in to make coffee. Later on he’ll earn his keep with melodious song that thrills my heart.
I’ve spoken before of my “fireplace,” the assortment of candles that rest on the secretary-desk by the patio door. They remind me of the candles I saw in the cathedrals I visited on my travels abroad. Each one represented prayers for a loved one. These could too.
The Insides and Outsides of life are ever with us. A little old lady sitting at home on a cloudy dark morning knows this and takes comfort.