breathing space

Dust. It collects everywhere. On shelves and witches balls, in corners and my mind. It is pervasive, invasive, persuasive. It makes me want to give up, cry uncle, sing defeat.

I can’t keep up with the dust, so I’ve stopped trying. I let it sit there and ruminate on my blind eye turned elsewhere. Waiting. Dust knows we are enemies. In fact, we literally are, I am allergic.

But it is deeper than its own thin layer, dust. It is a sign of inertia. The battle of life, age, entropy.

Dust is dead. Dead space, dead air, dead cells. The opposite of life.

I watch it float through the air trapped in rays of sunshine, trying its best to look pretty. I feel it settle down around me, all the while making snide comments on my laziness. I smell its musty, fusty, dried up scent, just reeking of neglect.

Dust is illiterate, but I read the words that I draw in its layers and cringe at their implication. Clean me. Notice me. Take care.

It is not my fault, this dust, it is something that happens. We can remove it, daily, weekly, monthly, as often as there is time, but it will always return, unwanted visitor, benign blanket, ambivalent disguise.

I tackle dust, every so often, when I can’t tolerate its presence any longer. I wash and scrub and eradicate this evidence of days gone by, of life’s slow and steady passing. I make it sparkle.

We both know it is a losing battle.

But we pretend for a day, or at least an hour,

that I am victorious.

14 Responses to “breathing space”

  • Julie Mangano Says:

    Love this piece. I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes, I even consider dust my friend. Finally had to hire a housecleaning service to help me get on top of this one.

  • georgia Says:

    i hate to sound like a broken record, but you are one talented writer! you need to be published. you really do. this is one of my favorite posts from you yet. whenever i read you, i’m shaking my head in disbelief. {i’m not a big reader… but i always read your posts.} you have a gift for taking everyday things and making them pertinent, interesting or thought-provoking.

    i too am HIGHLY allergic to dust {mites}… off-the-chart allergic. i like how you wrote about the dust as if it is a living being and called it an enemy.

    and this was my favorite line…
    “But it is deeper than its own thin layer, dust. It is a sign of inertia. The battle of life, age, entropy.”

    i could read this stuff all day long. and loving the photo! not even sure what it is, but LOVE it!

    by the way… i dust so infrequently, it’s not even funny. i’m just not one of those people… sigh.

  • beth Says:

    yep….let’s pretend we are victorious !

    do you have any black furniture ? i swear it needs dusting daily…damn entertainment center !

  • julochka Says:

    this reminds me that i need to find new cleaning girls closer to where i live….bu first, we should probably tear down the house. oh well, less to dust that way. 🙂

  • Debi Says:

    oh goodness. to only have dust. LOL!

  • Marcie Says:

    It becomes almost a ‘daily practice’ – this constant clearing and cleaning of dust..and making space for what’s new.
    So beautifully written!!

  • margie Says:

    so well written. aren’t we all the same? i can only tolerate dust for so long as well.

  • wholly jeanne Says:

    lord, thelma juice, you’re the only gal i know who could so elegantly elevate dust. dust is such a needy, clingy thing, isn’t it? so damned demanding.
    p.s. am still willing to send you some if you ever run out. that’s what i like to call a standing offer.

  • Graciel @ Evenstar Art Says:

    i, too, have blind eyes to the ever-present dust. the only way to get rid of it, albeit temporarily, is for me to invite guests over. that happens less and less, so dust must now be classified as an accessory. perhaps we could submit photos to the decorating blogs? wait, no. too much effort. sigh. let’s keep writing poems in the dust, instead.


  • Beverly Gilbert Says:

    So, so beautifully said. Ditto on it being everywhere, inside and out. Ditto on being allergic, yet giving up the battle. And yes, it can make itself look so dainty and beautiful in those rays of sunshine.

    Your photo is a beautiful swirl of color!

  • Just a Plane Ride Away Says:

    What a lovely and thought provoking piece. My family and I are getting ready to move back to the UK after having lived in the Netherlands for a year. It is amazing how much dust, actual and otherwise, one can collect in a year.

  • lisaschaos Says:

    I have a little dust zone of my own that Im trying to ignore. But I really need to wipe it all away, achoo!

  • Joie Says:

    wow…can i relate to this or what!? dust bunnies have moved right in. like family. or uninvited guests who just don’t know when to get the heck out. and definitely don’t stay away long enough for you to enjoy some peace and quiet! i mean, dust is noisy. it’s over in the corner (well, right here actually) screaming for me to ‘do something!’…and i have figured out a way to ignore them. 😉

I cherish your comments...