Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wonderfully Disheveled

   The morning sun gleams through the east window, gilding the remains of last night’s dinner party. Furniture sits in odd places, having been scooted into spontaneous pairings for old friends to whisper secrets and for new friends to get acquainted. The fireplace is void of flames now but overflowing with warm ashes. On the wood floor I notice errant napkins, crumbs, and beautiful smudges from spilled drinks. I walk through the glorious chaos to the kitchen, where the only clean spot is what space has been cleared for morning coffee, which waits for me hot and fragrant and loyal.

   After a party I am always tempted to leave things in diarray for a while, so we can visually soak up the treasured vibrations of friendship and love. Sometimes I am more anxious to get photos of the aftermath than of the event’s set up. I cannot agree that a good party ever leaves a home spotless, whether hosted for children or adults. The mess is a small trophy for me.

   Since daily life goes on, the cleaning must ensure. But I don’t think of it as removing something dirty or righting some wrong done to my home. Instead, while touching each item I try to gently press the good memories into our surroundings. While pacing through the affected rooms, collecting dirty dinner plates and drinking glasses, scooting couches and chairs back to their every day positions, and fluffing up plants, I imprint into our domestic conscience the laughter and energy of every one of our beloved friends and family members. As I wipe clean the smudged tables I am actually polishing them with the smiles we traded the night before.

   We feel so lucky to be surrounded by good friends. They make us wonderfully disheveled.

The writer's prompt this Tuesday 
was to discuss "Cleaning House" in 300 words or less, 
without offering up Heloisian tutorials..
This is what came to mind.


  1. Beautiful words. You are so right about enjoying the mess that a party creates.
    Hope you are having a good day.

  2. I am inspired. Truly.

    I love your whole perspective. So often, I clear away the chaos, forgetting what a lived-in house actually represents.

    I love the personification. The loyal coffee is especially pleasing.

  3. Oooookay.
    I had our annual holiday party Saturday night here at our home, and i still don't have everything back in place...but that's ok. Because I, too, believe "The mess is a small trophy for me".
    All our glasses are dirty because we have lots of friends.
    This is not a bad thing.
    Nice job with the prompt! I came from the link.

  4. I would love to dishevel your place any time.

    xoxo This is really beautiful, GG. Really.

  5. Most of my friends know that when they come to my place, they can sleep on the sofa for a week or two. I keep extra toothbrushes for impromptu sleepovers. And the mess! The delightful mess! Mine, theirs, and ours.

    I like disheveled as a state of being. Calm and controlled was never me.

    So yes, love this glimpse into your life. Well played!

  6. This is beautiful, I love your attitude to the joys of friendship and hosting, regardless of the ensuing chaos. :)

  7. I had never realized until now that smudges are, in fact, very beautiful after a wonderful party.

    Very beautiful writing.

  8. Beautiful word picture and beautiful sentiment. I love this: "I imprint into our domestic conscience the laughter and energy of every one of our beloved friends and family members."

  9. What a great way to look at the aftermath. I need to try that next time, instead of dreading it! Does your very zen and enlightened perspective work for mud tracked on carpeting, too?

  10. What a great way to look at it. I hate cleaning up after parties. But I think next time I will try and look at it like you do.


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