October 27, 2013 (19)

Yesterday afternoon I tackled cleaning the storage shed for the first time. I pulled everything out, made piles in the courtyard of anything that couldn’t get wet–my art supplies, my photographs, my Christmas stuff–put everything else on the pavers between our tree, Serena, and the shed. I hosed off shovels and rakes, empty crates, cat carriers. I swept the shelves, the floor, then turned the hose on the inside of the shed, ceiling and all. I felt a flicker of panic for one moment while I stood there, hose in hand, water dripping on my head. All that water everywhere, all that wet, unfinished wood. Did I just ruin something? An impulse from childhood, maybe, that favorite stuffed dog I left out in the rain. It freaked me out, too, seeing all my boxes filling the courtyard. It was too evocative, I think, of all those weeks after we moved here when almost everything I owned sat outside. But today I can trust I’ll put everything away again. And in the early dusk yesterday when I’d finished hosing everything off, I felt that deep satisfaction that’s been so rare in these long months of summer, of having done a thorough cleaning, a careful, complete job. I chained my bike to Serena, just in case. I slid the window open in the shed, left the door propped wide so it could dry out. And all through the warm summer evening the smell of wet wood drifted in the open windows of our trailer, making me feel good over and over each time the scent reached me, reminding me I’d done this–this satisfying, tangible thing.

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