I feel the chaos-quotient increasing. Surely this is connected to politics.
But not-only: we are heading into Pesach, and in order to achieve the required order, I end up dismantling everything---refrigerator, freezer, cabinets, dishes, pots, cutlery, knives, pantry, counters, cabinets, the inaccessible tops of cabinets, drawers, table linen. And that's just in the kitchen.
Then there's the furniture: what's accumulated beneath the cushions, hidden in corners, multiplied in drawers and on the tops of desks. There are the books that have babies when I am not looking, straining the bookcases at the seams.
There's the stuff that ambushes me from the tops of closets.
There are the items that I thought would make life easier or more comfortable for Zalman, different sorts in every room. (Some did; some did not.)
And there are the things that I can't bear going through, because they invite too much memory.
So many items in this house hold stories.
The great paradox that emerges during all this preparation is that I am ostensibly cleaning the chometz, the "fermentables", out of the house for Pesach. This is in memory of my people's miraculous and swift exodus from a state of slavery in Egypt. Each fled with only what they could carry. I look at all the beautiful or convenient or memory-provoking or comfort-providing items in this house, and I get a queasy sense of discontinuity and paradox. The memories many items invoke are precious to me. Do I not have faith that I will remember the person/the incident/the period/the miracle without the physical item?
So I have decided to have compassion for myself during this period, and see if gentleness can temper the required rigor.
Tomorrow I roll up my sleeves, re-pot some house plants, and sit down at my desk to write.