Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The return of the muse

My muse returned today, amidst my annual ritual of decluttering. Unlike the Spirit of God, referred to as a still, small voice, my muse seemed to have been isolated for a bit too long. Words, stories, book passages, music lyrics, summer experiences ... they all came hand over fist as I sorted dominoes from Legos and vacuumed dust piles from behind my washing machine. I can't even begin to understand why, in the midst of this most quotidian of rituals, my muse jumped on the center stage of my mind, but I am so glad to have words for all that has been locked in my head. I love this time of year, when I can walk through the laundry room and remember the color of the linoleum and know that my husband's favorite sock isn't jammed underneath one of those hard-working appliances. Putting away toys on shelves that are tidy makes my homebody heart sing. But, to have my prodigal muse return with vigor and enthusiasm in the midst of it all? Happy thought, indeed.

Perhaps it wasn't the decluttering, but the nap I took when the sweat and dirt got to be a bit much on this 100-degree day. When I awoke, I had a sticky note on my leg that announced, "Mein Mutter." This is the risk you take by allowing your oldest child to teach herself a language and by giving her a German dictionary the size of a large toaster. I came off better than the dog, though. She had a sticky note with her species noted in Latin, German and Greek. She was just "dog, dog, dog," but I was "my mother." I'll take that any day.

Perhaps it was a more stressful moment of the day that kicked things into gear. My first attempt at a nap this afternoon was quickly aborted when I smelled smoke, heard a siren, and then heard said siren stop. Nearby. Not what I wanted to hear or smell, especially since our area has already been hard hit with fire this summer. When I checked the front yard, I could see smoke billowing up over the trees just over the neighbors house, and I started running. With this gorgeous house just a few weeks from completion, I was hoping it wasn't on fire. It turned out not to be so close, and to be a grass fire that did not damage any structures, but it sure scared us. When I returned to announce that we were not in danger, I found my eleven-year-old holding three things on the front porch: her doll, my grandmother's tea cup and my wedding photos. Good choices, my girl. Amidst the adrenaline rush of the moment, my heart welled up with appreciation for my sentimental and practical girl.

Now the house is quiet, and tomorrow's cleaning projects are tomorrow's concern, so I'm going to pour myself a chilly glass of white wine and celebrate. Whatever trouble that muse has gotten into in its travels far and away from my head, however it found its prodigal way back, I am ready to put fingers to keyboard and pen to paper. Welcome home, pal. I've missed you more than words can say...or maybe they can. We'll see.

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