I've been cleaning up recently, stacking and shelving books which lie haphazardly about the floor, folding up stray cloths which are tossed to surfaces and sweeping away the dust which coats so many surfaces. Admittedly, it's been postponed after much procrastinating. We say that the house needs to be cleared up before the new year, which rests in spring. But it's summer now, a much hotter season which inspires us all to drop everything and sweep. I told myself earlier this year - I would clean up, but I waited. I let it lag, let it drag, kept pushing back the date. And now, at long last, my irritation towards that carpet of dust has overridden that insipid nature of mine.
I've begun to clear the clutter.
And as I clear, I clear the stacks of boxes which teeter precariously atop one another. Every blow I chuff out to a surface reveals a forgotten treasure. They are not anything valuable, but priceless. The contents bring back memories from a time long gone, memories which cling to my mind with strings of gossamer, ready to depart any time.
They tumble onto the floor in a jumbled mess, yellowed slips of paper, rusted paperclips which once held them together tumbling out alongside them. I see the sheets of stickers I once treasured so much, so much that I dared not touch. I see the drawings I once admired to no end, drawn in crayon with a childish hand. I see the letters that we once wrote to each other, for friends were as close as sister and brother. I smile as I see them, see the memories that some carry with them; the others have long vanished from the mind.
They say that the future holds numerous hazy possibilities, but the past does too. In my mind, the past is a murky thing that is classified under 'yesterday'. I only recall snippets of my toddler-days, like the baths I took in the little red tub, the stories I was read, and everything being looming monoliths above me.
But recently, with my summer cleaning, these things have been coming back, more vividly than possible. I can feel the sea breeze mingled with the wind that hits me as I was spun about on the roundabout. I can smell the greenery, the forest, from the little café where monkeys were bold enough to patronize. I can hear the call of the lunch-lady as she ladled out the lilac bowls of chicken macaroni soup with her pink-rubber-gloved hands.
These are the things from which I grew up from, the things which warm me in the freezing rain. I sometimes wonder- what happened to the others? Where are they now? But those are questions to pursue at a later date, for I still have much packing and storing to do.
Another thing of the past - carrots. I'll be brutally honest here, I have some sort of love-hate relationship with carrots. I'd eat them in porridge as a child, but only, only if the skin was removed. (I was fussy) Unlike others who value the crunching and cracking of carrots, I have a preference for them mushy. And mushy does go well with crunch.
So this morning, for something to power up the mind, soul and body, I made a carrot-hazelnut baked oatmeal-cake, upon realising that I only had a quarter cup of oat grains left. Yogurt takes up the usual place of applesauce, which makes for a fresh change (after all, that was what spring cleaning was all about) and some stewed peaches for summer. The syrup which the mixture produces is sweet and just peachy. Serve it with an extra dollop of yogurt for a hot / cold mixture, if you wish. So go ahead, enjoy this summer, and a little reminder - check that you have all ingredients for a recipe before making it.
-to be continued-