I’ve been a little maudlin lately and you’ve all been very kind about it.
My impulse is to apologize for getting boo-hooey, wingeing on about being sick, being vague, and feeling overwhelmed. But I’m one of those people who tends to apologize when someone else bumps directly into me and I’ve been told that’s bad. (Sorry.) So I won’t apologize for being in a bit of a blue, sentimental place lately. I’ll just tell you that I very, very much appreciate you patting my arm and waiting for it to pass (thanks for all the comments and emails, guys, holy cow) and I’ll tell you that I’m pretty sure this particular mini-Blue Period is done.
I owe it all to Nancy Holman.
I’m researching Log Cabin quilts right now for an Exciting Project and I would like to share with you something that I read this morning that popped me out of my funk on contact. It is a passage taken from the “work diary” of this Mrs. Holman, a Missouri homesteader in the 1860s and 1870s. At one point, she describes her chores in full. These are her chores:
“Shearing sheep and washing the wool; twisting thread; making and dyeing yarn; spinning flax and tow; weaving cloth; planting and tending the garden and preserving its produce; rendering lard and making soap and candles; watering and milking the cows; slaughtering the hogs; picking cotton; sewing carpet rags; making baskets and brooms; and, of course, maintaining the routine of cleaning and scouring floors and furniture, as well as washing, ironing, cooking, and sewing.”
If you’re like me, right now your eyes are very big and you are feeling a mixture of deep horror and wild admiration. You may be shaking your head and thinking to yourself, “None of the problems that I have would exist if I had to work that hard doing all those things every single day.”
I’m with you. Who has time to worry if her jeans look cute if she’s got a hog to slaughter and a broom to make? Penpals and stubborn head colds? Please! Get to rendering that lard and spin some flax. Get over it!
In our ways, of course, we are all as busy as Nancy. I’m serious! We’re as busy as any humans ever have been, but there’s no arguing that things we’re busy with are slightly different now and require less literal blood and sweat. We may feel this or that type of way about the things we have to do in our lives that aren’t 100% fun — those feeling are valid — but I for one am very, very grateful that I do not have to make my own soap. Some people would argue that I might find deep happiness, making my own soap. They can go ahead and argue that. I wonder if they have ever smelt lard as it renders. I have. It is not good.
Anyway, thanks, Nancy. I needed to get out of my head and you did that for me.
And she still found time to quilt.