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For some reason, although it's Feb. 14, 2010, the computer won't let me post with the 2010 date. So...I've given the date as day and month in 2009.
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Living in a small house has its disadvantages. There never seems to be enough space for *anything*.
At one time there was a basement pantry/ shelf-type thing along the basement stairs, but my husband says it was torn out in the 80's. You could tell something was there, for there was painted space...but sadly, no shelves.
We solved that problem temporarily with a particle board pantry and a plastic shelving unit. It was fabulous until our cats discovered they could hop from the stairs to the top of the cabinets and 'people watch' what was happening in the laundry room on the other side...and oh gee, if something got knocked off the shelves in the process, it was a pure accident.
So, in sealing the basement, we have enclosed the stairs (much to the cat's chagrin) and built a lovely pantry space. Pure bliss! It's a lovely maple wood that be echoed in the rest of the room as we complete this laundry/ bath/ storage space.
So, right before Thanksgiving (of course *before* the holidays!) I had to gut the pantry, move the shelves, and have all my stuff in boxes.
NO MORE! This past week, the pantry was DONE! Hooray!
I happily filled it and thought of the poem by Keats. It is such a thrill to have ONE THING done in the basement for storage....I've grown to dread this never-ending cycle of remodeling that comes when you buy an older home.
Classically, though, I have found the cure for dread to be hope. So, rather than be overwhelmed with dread, I've learned to revel in the small things and take extreme joy whenever I can in whatever I can. This week, my joy was the pantry. For months, my pantry items have sat hidden in boxes. No more. Everything has a place. Truth be told, I could use another wall full of pantry shelves, but for now, it is sheer, unadulterated bliss.
True, there are some who won't appreciate this, but it's my pantry and I love it. I love it for all it's four shelves that are 15" high and 25" deep and for its maple polished beauty...for it's smooth finished edges and secure non-wobbly, non-warped shelves, I love it for it's PERMANENCE. It's not temporary, it's built INTO our home. It's not some press-board cabinet made by underpaid workers in a third world country and shipped to a mega-mart. It was lovingly made by hand, making sure the walls were straight and true (as true as you can get in an 80 year old house).
I'm sure there will come a day when I have to leave this beautiful thing, but for now, I'm seriously groovin' on my pantry.
Keats was right - beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder, it can be that which causes us to stop and smile and sigh - joy in our hearts forever.
Enjoy the poem & the pics!
A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever
by John Keats
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
Nor do we merely feel these essences
For one short hour; no, even as the trees
That whisper round a temple become soon
Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
The passion poesy, glories infinite,
Haunt us till they become a cheering light
Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast
That, whether there be shine or gloom o'ercast,
They always must be with us, or we die.
Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
Will trace the story of Endymion.
The very music of the name has gone
Into my being, and each pleasant scene
Is growing fresh before me as the green
Of our own valleys: so I will begin
Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
Now while the early budders are just new,
And run in mazes of the youngest hue
About old forests; while the willow trails
Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
My little boat, for many quiet hours,
With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and white,
Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half finished: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end!
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness:
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.