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order and chaos

December 3, 2011

it occurs to me from time to time that much of what i do on the farm is managing the dynamic between order and chaos. sorting piles of squash into neatly stacked and counted crates; cutting unkempt weeds from around three straight, evenly spaced rows of celery; organizing the jam-packed cooler so we remember what’s actually in there.

after 2 days of packing up to move to a new apartment, i think maybe chaos and order (why does order always come first?) is what a lot of life is about. perhaps it’s just because i have a natural inclination to organize things, but once i start thinking about it there are few things that seem unrelated to that fundamental tension.

sometimes packing increases chaos — a box of disassembled lamp, surrounded by comforter. some is just transporting chaos that already exists: this stack of random papers on this shelf goes into a box labeled “papers from shelf.” and, from time to time, i get to bring order, gathering books, knickknacks or cleaning supplies spread about the house into one neatly categorized box. the long list of things to pack gets shorter, the boxes pile up, and now all of our possessions are waiting in a stack to be loaded into the moving truck.

on the other side, the new apartment is empty and clean. i spent several hours there on thursday, waiting for various utility set up men, and basked in the peace of the sunlit vacant rooms. later today those rooms will be full of all of our belongings, furniture in place, boxes in awkward stacks. the next few weeks will be a gradual dance of distributing those cubes’ contents back out into the world, finding corners and cupboards and drawers for new homes. i’m looking forward to the process, and the deeply satisfying (if elusive) reward of a home where there is a place for every thing.

just in case you were wondering, yes, that is an urban apartment, and no, i am not giving up farming — just spending the winter mostly in the city until things start to grow again.

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