Yes. I’m calling it “gathering” on purpose. Something akin to looking for what is available, knowing ones terrain, taking the time to find just the right thing rather than rushing over to buying what is immediate. Gleaning the fields of the leftovers. Taking just what I need. Gleaning is a practice that is still on the law books in France, where it was actually illegal for farmers and vineyard owners to not give away the excess. I live in a place where it is illegal to harvest rain water even though it is so dry here, the water will evaporate (much of it) before it makes it out to those landowners who supposedly “own” the archaic water rights out of the plains.
So, in a world hard-pressed to buy the new and shiny, I am gathering the old and the storied. I am taking other people’s memories, their leftovers, their treasures and trash and creating my own dream. We are always dreaming each other. Nothing is ours. We borrow sunlight for heat, for wood, for power. We walk on stones that used to be mountains. We eat a piece of fruit that was once a seed of another piece of fruit that was the seed of another piece of fruit and on and on. Even our flesh and bones simply borrowed– newer variation of memory and song sung by someone long ago.
I am looking for what needs a new home. Why fill up the land with it? Like Leo’s garage full of wood and glass and projects he didn’t have the chance to finish before he foreclosed on his home. Ironic, eh? (yet another example of who gets left of of the modern economics of home owning). His sister said it was meant to be because her Italian name is Maria Elena and mine is Elena Marie. Only, I’m Greek. She thought I was building tiny houses as in “doll houses”. My friend Wendy asked why I didn’t correct her. I said, “well it’s kind of a doll house. A doll house for people.” I liked the whimsy of it, though I thought perhaps Leo might think of building himself a tiny house, since he’s a master carpenter. Maybe I’ll invite him to help me with mine and he’ll be inspired?
What I found in his garage:
Small windows, random pieces of wood including some interesting sounding African Hardwoods that he wasn’t ready to part ways with, leftover red carpeting with a cool retro design from the Ramada, and the best find–beautiful wood trim….
For the edge of the Loft? I love the way the fluid practice of “gathering” stirs my imagination so much more thoroughly than the static practice of “buying”. With buying, you generally know just what you are looking for, or at least you have a very defined sense of what is available, what colors and sizes it is available in, how much it is, etc. With gathering, there is a sense of trust that the perfect thing is there waiting for a home, and in finding the perfect thing, I discover exactly what it is that I hadn’t yet imagined. My dream fills out and becomes itself.
By the way, I drew a first design of my house last week (after one of those “gathering” sessions on Craiglist). It was about one in the morning, and I’m sure no one else could read my squiggles and notes but it made me very excited.
(I promised Leo in exchange for all the good things he passed onto me, I’d pass on his new business. He does home casino parties. They bring the tuxes and the cards. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll give you his info)