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Henri Rousseau, “Tropical Forest with Monkeys” (1910)
"Organization achieved by endless sorting seems the very soul of HomeMaking."

HomeMaking seems about 90% Sorting. I'm forever shuffling something from here over to there then back again. I might explain painting as a Sorting of sorts, whereby I sort a can's contents. I could go on with analogies, but you've probably already gotten my point. HomeMaking is Sorting most all of the way down, like Ghandi's elephants and Prachett's tortoise. Moving In Day, the movers seemed incapable of following The Muse and my conflicting directions, resulting in stuff smeared all over Christmas and back. We're still Sorting the result. I yesterday sorted out the garage, a chore I accomplished by first sorting out the space behind the garage. There, a few hundred assorted bricks, pavers, and concrete blocks needed relocating out of my Cadillac Composter to somewhere else, hopefully a place where they would not be constantly in the way, or underfoot, as they say. I decided to hide most of the bricks beside the garage, a space that has needed Sorting for ages, the place where I store my ladders. I pulled everything out of that creepy space, spiders, possum poop, and all, and swept off the resulting pile before tidily stacking everything off to the side. Then I had to sweep up the mess, which included broken fluorescent light tubes someone had tossed in there. Then I began ferrying bricks with my Muck Bucket Cart, about twenty a load. I laid the bricks, five or six across, to roughly pave that space, sorting bricks by size, color, and condition. My judgement was fine-tuning as I sorted, noticing variation where formerly none had existed. By the time I'd finished, several hours later, I had gained a deep sensitivity to the subtler features of bricks. No longer merely leftovers, I'd taken full possession of them by then. They were mine!

My neighbor Larry peeked in to comment on the proceedings, but I didn't really hear what Larry said because I had fallen into a first class Sorting trance.
That trance keeps me engaging. I'd procrastinated for weeks before starting this grand Sorting. Nobody sorts bricks and pavers for fun. They're heavy and dirty and dumb, with not an ounce of creative intelligence among any of them. The job seemed similar to shuffling cards but with more purpose and considerably more weight involved. I do not overstate my feelings when I claim to have felt delighted with the result. Not only had I somehow found out of the way places for every last brick and paver, but their new locations seemed set for the ages. I would not likely be needing to rearrange them again in this lifetime, unless and until I decide to use some of them to pave something, which will necessitate another Sorting. I try not to contaminate my elation by anticipating future reSortings.

Three hours into the sort, I finally got around to emptying the garage of everything but one shelf unit and the garage refrigerator. I very deliberately unsorted everything so I could inventory what I had. I ferried several loads out to the two wheeler out front to be hauled away as garbage. Part of every Sorting ritual involves discovering a form of disgust, revulsion at some of the infernal stuff I'd accumulated. Some of it left me fuming. I almost punted that new badminton set The Muse had bought last weekend. It seemed like complicating detritus and I sought order, my order. This is, after all, MY garage. I get territorial when Sorting. By then, the threatening sun had been warming the proceedings for hours and even with the door wide open, it was becoming a bake oven in there. I persisted, seeking an almost unprecedented second splurge of elation only a completed Sorting ever brings.

I fudged a bit with my ending. A few items I could not justify tossing but also could not quite believe belonged within my new organization. Besides, the two-wheeler was very nearly full. I created some semi-permanent messes, which will of course require Sorting, in the basement just so I could attain a rough coherence in the garage. Successful Sorting usually requires some embarrassing pushes and shoves. By the time I'd finished, the thermometer was heading toward a hundred again and I was working blind, sweat flowing down into my glasses to blur my vision. I was working by touch. I was filthy, hot, tired, and delighted. I took the rest of the afternoon off. Today? More Sorting threatens to delight me again. I realize that many of my most satisfying days HomeMaking have been spent in semi-mindless Sorting trances. The resulting order will most certainly not last. Another perturbation always lurks in waiting to introduce another amended purpose which will necessitate yet another grand or modest Sorting, the seemingly last resort of HomeMaking. For now, though, I finally have full access to my Cadillac Composter here in the heart of composting season and I have a garage I can finally call mine, all mine. I temporarily know where everything in there is hiding. I resolved another great mystery. I sort, therefore I own. Unordered possessions own their owner. Organization achieved by endless sorting seems the very soul of HomeMaking.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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