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I like clutter…at least a bit of it, anyway.
Pristine rooms makes me nervous. Chairs and couch just so. Magazines squared in a stack on the table. Matching lamps and throw pillows. Art hung at prescribed gallery level on the walls, placed to "come off" an object such as a vase stand and centered to the millimeter. The effect is like a photo set for an interior design publication—too orderly to be comfortable, so overly-organized that relaxation is impossible.
Do real people actually live in such dehumanized, sanitized spaces? Or is this simply a dead giveaway that any inhabitants are aliens?
Rest assured—you'll have no such worries when you visit me. Oh, the place is clean. And I have couches and chairs and tables. The throw pillows match, but only because they came with the couch—though I have a couple more with a Navajo motif which my daughter made, plus one with a moose. Two of the lamps match and two don't. There's some art on the wall, paintings and prints I like, and because I have lots of walls there's lots of art…and more to come, too, when I finally dig it out from boxes in closets and attic. Some of things you'll see will be personal, unique, quirky. Books—well, there are always stacks of books around, and books on the shelves. And CDs by the hundreds in baskets. And did I mention stuff? What sort of stuff? Well, stuff, as in stuff! Rocks and pieces of driftwood and a railroad spike from a old ghost-town tunnel (a supposedly haunted tunnel, by the way.) Also a china cabinet with it's own stuff inside. Candles and candle holders on mantles and ledges and tables and atop the big chest of drawers by the front door. Several of Moon's chew toys scattered about the floor. And I must not overlook my Steinway piano.
I'm probably forgetting things, too. Even though this is a big room we're talking about, there are a lot of things in it…and it looks lived in and reflects the lives and interest of those who live here. And, yes indeed, it is always a bit cluttered. But you can come in, sit before the fire, kick back, sprawl if you're inclined, have a glass of something and a snack to nibble on while we talk.
The charitable might call such an overall style "eclectic." A little of this, a bit of that—yet all somehow working in a cohesive manner and mix. Homey , pleasant, cozy, friendly, comfortable.
If we've built the hearthfire a bit too ambitiously, or it's unseasonably warm outside, we'll open the sliding door and you'll be able to hear the river whispering along, smell the scent of autumn's damp leaves, and perhaps hear a few birds or insects. This river is, as you probably know, literally within spitting distance of the cottage. (Yes, you can if you wish…though mind the swirling air currents.) And I ought to warn you there's a slight chance the open door will provide egress for a bug or arachnid or—if recent past experience is a reliable indicator—possibly a salamander. Moon will deter the mice and raccoons.
The Anti-Clutter League would be appalled! Martha Stewart might cancel my subscription—though I suspect Ms. Martha is a bit more down-to-earth than we give her credit for; any rich lady/businesswoman who takes a probably undeserved prison sentence over unseemly whining and endless legal shenanigans is, in my book, practical, courageous, and classy. At any rate, a bit of clutter in a home is a good thing.
And in may particular case, this good things extends out the doors and up the drive. The river deck is a bit cluttered, and the side deck, too. So is the yard. There are leaves down, though not yet many; the grass could probably use a final cutting; the marigolds need deadheading. But, hey—this is autumn and autumn is nature's season of clutter. Which is probably why I like it so much; autumn fits my style…a bit frayed and tattered, too much stuff in too little space—but lovely and endearing in its disarray.
A comfortable place to ramble the hours away. Autumn's splendid clutter!