Thursday, November 03, 2011
Thinking Small, Living Small
This is a picture of the corner counter in my kitchen - but you probably already figured that out. Notice all the stuff we store there. Not a whole lot of room for chopping or preparing a meal. Back when we lived in Connecticut, this corner between the stove and the sink was the only counter space I had - except for about 10 inches between the other side of the stove and the refrigerator. I didn't have a choice about where I would do my meal preparation: I had to use that corner. I had to keep that corner clear and use the space efficiently. I learned to do that well. Every day meals and holiday meals were produced in that tiny corner between the sink and the stove.
In this new home - well, not so new anymore... as of yesterday, we have lived in this house for nine years - NINE YEARS - I've got counter space on the other side of the sink. Room for more stuff and more food preparation.
And when I step even further away from that counter in the corner, I bump into a lovely island that allows for still more room to work, space for my kids to sit and eat, and for me to sit and write. I'm sitting on the stool on the left as I type this post. It is now possible for all four of us to be in the kitchen, doing some kind of meal preparation at the same time. Not that it happens often, but it's possible. We can pour coffee, hot water for tea, fill cereal bowls, and flip pancakes all at the same time.
When we moved into this house nine years ago, guess where I spent the majority of my time doing meal preparation? At that tiny counter in the corner. I would pile up the veggies for a salad in that one corner. Then I'd prepare any meat I was going to cook in that one corner. Then I'd lay out serving dishes and utensils in that one corner.
Slowly it dawned on me that I was living mighty small in that corner of my kitchen. I had to remind myself every day that I could prepare meals on any of the counters in the kitchen. This new place offers an expanded space for me to do what I need to do in order to nourish my family and myself. Some days, I find myself huddled back in that corner with spoons and knives and colanders and cans and bags and cutting boards - all jumbled together. And then I remember: I don't have to think and live so small.
Do I even have to tell you how often the cycle of
* forgetting how much room I have to stretch and live and be productive,
* complaining about how small my world is and how cramped I feel,
* marveling, laughing, and groaning when I find myself back at "the counter in the corner"
* and rediscovering the wide, wild, inviting, and precious expanse of my real world and my real life
repeats itself in the rest of my life?