The Return

I love to vacuum. There’s just something about vacuuming that’s so…. soothing. It’s calming to think of all the little dust particles, hairs and other microscopic bits and bobs getting sucked up into that dark void of the vacuum canister. It just makes me feel better, somehow.

So yesterday, there I was, vacuuming. As I moved the coffee table over to clean underneath it, a thought popped into my mind:

One can vacuum too much


One can vacuum TOO much.


I was at once reminded of something Dawna Markova wrote in I Will Not Die An Unlived Life. She retreated to a remote cabin in Utah for months to reflect on and write about her life. Toward the end of her stay, a friend gave her a bird’s nest, and she wrote:

“I’ve been searching for something in this frozen landscape with which to begin the last part of my journey. I imagine [the bird’s nest] speaking to me: ‘I was a home, a sanctuary, a place to rest and nest the tiny carriers of seeds and possibilities which have broken open and flow out on their own. Now I have been abandoned, of necessity, so the next part of the cycle can emerge. If you try and hold onto me past my time I will crumble in your hands, because nothing can be permanent. All must change form in nature. It is time to release your dreams, in faith, to the world at large, and return.’

I’m not particularly happy about this. For the first time in my adult life, I have been nested in complete happiness in my own solitude, in this perfect world of my own making. But I notice that the sun now sets much further to my right each night and the chickadees coming to the feeder have a different call. I notice that when David or Angie or Andy come to visit, I am fussier and fussier, wiping their muddy footprints after them, hanging their carelessly placed jackets, grumpy when they leave a book or magazine in a place other than I think it belongs….I realize that I must control more and more to keep the world out. If I continue much longer like this, I will have made it into a perfect cage where only I can dwell. This cabin, like an identity, could become a prison.”

And so it is with my vacuuming. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I feel like I’ve been trying to keep something in place, just as is, something that is now ready to move.

I sense I’m at the end of one road in life with NO IDEA what lies ahead from here. I could guess, but somehow I think I’d be wrong.

Parts of me are trying desperately to hold on to what they’ve known, yet my Soul is urging me further into the unknown.

Either way, I feel that it’s time to leave my own cabin, and, as Dawna writes, “to release [my] dreams, in faith, to the world at large, and return.’

Photo by Khürt Williams

Photo by Khürt Williams


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