by Maida Korte

            “Poor Mole stood alone in the road, his heart torn asunder, and a big sob gathering, somewhere low down inside him, to leap up to the surface presently, he knew, in passionate escape…………the wafts from his old home pleaded, whispered, conjured, and finally claimed him imperiously…”  – Kenneth Grahame


According to most self-help videos of late, it appears we are all wandering thru our spaces looking disheveled and vacant.  We don’t know how to be home any longer.  Specifically, we don’t know how be home on purpose.   Of course we have all donned sweat pants on the bottom half of our bodies with the occasional crisp shirt for the necessary video call, but this is then discarded soon after for the loose t-shirt or sweat-shirt or torn-shirt or stained-shirt.  Obviously comfort is king, but what bothers me is that the lordship of comfort has become so unseemly, steamy, stinky, sloppy and stretched out.  When did home become the place of I don’t care and you can’t make me? 

            When I was four years old, I couldn’t wait to go to school.  I believed that all things fun and mysterious and exciting happened at school and I had my older brother to prove it.  He came home from school with books and projects and stories and this turned what I did and what I knew into something colorless and pasty by comparison. I began to feel that making little cinnamon dough cakes and baking them with sprinkles of sugar and dabs of butter was beneath me.  I became bored with constant play-time and napping in my comfy bed.  I yearned to listen to stories while sitting in a circle, marching to gym class like soldiers down a hallway row of asbestos glue laid tile, and singing songs like “Tenting tonight on the old camp ground.” (Kittredge).   I wanted to hang upside down from a cold metal bar at recess and play tether ball tournaments with five year olds.  But what I really wanted was to wear school clothes.  Little skirts with tights, and sweaters with animals on them and dresses that my Mom sewed.  I wanted a high pony tail atop my head and a ribbon around it to match whatever color my clothes were that day.  I had school clothes and play clothes and church clothes but no fleece or flannel in the day time.  No sirree.  Clothes told the story of what I was doing and this was as important as the hour demanded.  Whether it was time to jump rope with Trudy next door or march to school with a tribe of little children unsupervised down a gravel road thru fields of grass past the horses, I donned the proper attire for the occasion.   

            The walk from home to school was filled with its own simple sense of adventure and we went as a pack.  First two then four then eight, as children from the neighborhood joined up and headed toward our ultimate destination.  We meandered without rushing as we made our way across a field of tall grasses worn flat, feeding horses we passed on the other side of simple fences, me examining milk weed and pulling it apart inquisitively.  We ultimately spilled out onto Geneva Road, where a large concrete path with a centered flag pole heralded our arrival at school. This route was reversed at lunch time, and the whole adventure repeated one more time to complete the day.  The sounds of returning home were registered in the slam, bang, plop of books, the ravenous hunger as if returning from war, the waggle/bark of our doggie and changing into play clothes.   I have no idea what my Mom did during our absence since I couldn’t imagine her doing anything other than missing us.

            Clothes always interested me and my life as a designer (interior and not fashion) draws inspiration from attire that can be seen everywhere and on everyone.  Style is subjective and what I embrace, what I love, no what I adore, is when what we wear is purposeful.  Dressing on purpose.  This can have a luxurious sense of disheveled-ness, a crisp and starched and creased ensemble of vertical lines, color that pops out at you as if it wants to say something important, fluid and soft and gentle and draped, or blam studded and bold, but it is chosen, it is selected to be important and put that here and not there.  I am no stranger to the comfort uniform, but since when does comfort have to mean I don’t care?  Outfits that scream I am casual and so confident that I throw my clothes on so as to look random is a world away from I am no one and I am nowhere. 

            Self-care comes in many forms and dressing on purpose starts your day with a decision fulfilled – a good decision fulfilled.  The random act of dressing with no thought delays your mind’s ability to focus, be strategic, formulate opinions and make decisions because it is not warmed up.  I know – I need to slide into crispness too – so I begin with mindless tasks – opening curtains and blinds – starting coffee brewing – to the next task and then the next and all of a sudden I am a bright flash of mental clarity ready to solve problems, think big thoughts, debate ideas, write, love my husband and children and family, fulfill responsibilities, attend to the quirky client, appreciate my friends and slide into a gentle softening of thought as the sun descends in the sky ready to return in the morning when I will definitely wear my white flowy skirt to see my grand-children.  O’ Happy Day!

2 Responses to “Ready

  • …and out of the heart and mental clarity of this woman comes love and powerful pictures that are both comforting and challenging us to be our best in one and the same moment

  • Jim Walker
    2 years ago

    Beautifully Written!

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