The opposite of a still life, which is usually the depiction of inanimate subject matter, my life still offers up a little slice of life, frozen in time. I was bending down at the end of the table one evening after dinner, picking some things up off the floor, when I looked up, my eyes right at table height. It struck me as such a lovely scene, Dave and Grace working out some math homework together at one end of the table, Jack in his own bubble, drawing, and Eleanor taking it all in while attempting to feed herself some yogurt… My camera happened to be within arms reach, so I grabbed it, thinking I’d capture one of those instances that otherwise gets buried in the memory file, lost among other miscellaneous moments not attached to any large titles. I find the camera useful for that.
I had forgotten about the crazy mess one year-olds create. We have a high threshold for disorder in this household. Every room in this home is truly a living room, and when we walk through the house we take care to step over the flotsam and jetsam of childhood – books, pictures, lego, etc.
But the one year-old mess is not the same as objects that someone has neglected to put away once they’ve finished with them. The one year-old is discovering where things are, where they can go, what they can do. The spaghetti box comes out of the cupboard and each strand is pulled out piece by piece. Some are licked, some are snapped in half. All end up on the floor. The toilet paper unravels into a heap on the bathroom floor each time you visit that room. All this is tolerated because it buys you time while you wash the dishes, or brush your teeth, but also so as not to put a damper on the one year-old’s spirit of discovery. It does however mean that an awful lot of time is spent picking things up.
When the chaos on the ground becomes too much I look at the walls. There’s always something pleasant to look at there. The fish is peaceful, unperturbed, uncluttered…
I will be like the fish. I will swim with determination. Clearer waters are ahead.