Posted by: riverchilde | October 12, 2012

Time-Warped Rooms

What with tests and papers and presentations for midterms, I’ve let the house go just a little bit. Not filthy, crazy-hoarder-woman-with-cats unkempt, but let’s just say there’s been a bit of a fall-off in putting things in their proper places. As I tidied the computer desk where Tori and Alex used to work, and created clear sight lines in my bedroom, I realized that the clutter had served a purpose. It filled rooms up, rooms that can feel mighty empty these days when they are clear of clutter–romping kittens notwithstanding. Piles of papers on the table indicate that someone lives here, that life is still going on, a busy, full life. A blanket strewn across the sofa, shoes in the hallway, a jacket hitched over a chairback–this is no museum of dashed hope, but a vibrant place full of present and future potential.

Or so I like to tell myself. Because some days, the clutter is just a sign of feeling overwhelmed, of a deep emotional exhaustion that makes putting a dirty glass in the dishwasher feel like climbing Mount Everest. Does Alex’s room look like the inside of a storage shed because of a busy, active life? Or a sign of the enormity of the task of transitioning it from shrine to sanctuary? Or is it simply a way to keep it from being empty?

In the paradoxicality of our life right now, I realize, it is all three at once. Inside our home, past, present and future slip and slide around like a trickster playing a shell game, or a card shark shuffling through a deck. Time collides, expands, turns somersaults. We live in the now, the not yet and the what-has-been. No wonder our emotions rollercoaster on this time wave. No wonder life feels a little surreal at times.

And perhaps that’s another key to the clutter. It anchors us, keeps us tied to the concrete now, filled with solid objects that we can touch and hold and need to pay attention to as we navigate each day.

Time warp artwork credit:


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