I used to have a lot more things.
Last night, my fellow students were discussing what they were reading. Apparently they were all reading several books at once. This amazed me, as I have difficulty keeping the plot of a single book straight in my head and could never manage more than one.
“I have a book I’m reading in every room!” exclaimed the student sitting next to me.
Then I realized that I did as well.
I rent a single room while I am here in the Southwest attending graduate school. At first I thought of it as a temporary measure, a place to land while I got to know the city. I thought it would spare me the bother of either bringing a U-Haul back and forth or buying a duplicate of everything I have in the kitchen of my farmhouse.
But now that I have been here a semester, I am finding that a room is exactly what I need. It is enough.
I have a bed, a desk, a desk chair, a dresser, and a side table. I have two lamps. I have a bookshelf and since, my return from the Midwest, I have an easy chair and a footstool.
On days when I do not have to hurry off to teach, I commute to my office: approximately forty inches from my bed. When I am through writing for a while, I may retire to my lounge and sit in my new easy chair: roughly seventy inches away.
In my Midwest house, I have a lot more entertainment and a lot more distractions. Here the walls are bare. The floor is bare. There is a long window in my room, high on the wall, it faces east. I can see the tops of the mountains from my desk, but only if I stand up. I should stand every so often, and so I do, to see the mountains. Prior to winter break, I would go out to the kitchen for a cup of tea, but I have now purchased an electric kettle which sits on my dresser. Tea bags are in the second drawer.
Of course, I am not alone. My dog, Milo, spends nights in my room. He has his own bed, water bowl and food dish. My cat, Lucy, spends all her time in my room. She also has her own bed, but prefers to sleep on anything belonging to me. She has her own food and water dish as well, but prefers Milo’s water. Milo does not like sharing his water with a cat. If he suspects that Lucy has been drinking from his bowl, he will go all night without a drink, then race out to the kitchen in the morning to drink from the communal dog bowl. (Apparently, a cat contaminates water to the point where it is undrinkable.)
As I sit drinking my tea, I look around my little room and wonder what it was I did with all the other things I used to have. After school is over, I imagine I’ll enjoy the distractions and space. But for now, I think it is good to get a taste of less and feel it is enough.
At night, I turn off my two lamps. Milo goes to his bed, Lucy shares mine. After a few moments, I hear Lucy jump off the bed and pad over to Milo. I hear Milo growl.
“Milo,” I scold. I hear him grumble.
I hear Lucy lapping up his water and I smile. It is enough.
Till next time,