Friday, December 16, 2022

the three Rs


It's Climate Friday here at my juicy little universe, and at my house we are deep in the throes of packing to move into a very different set of spaces. The moving van comes on December 20! 

The process is challenging: this is not a matter of picking up what we have and setting it down again 🎵 as it was ; instead, each room, each function, each priority of our new (mostly) empty-nested and self-employed lives must be rethought and reimagined.  And each of these tangles must be solved with a recommitment to The Whole Point: to land more lightly on the planet.

Some of that is accomplished by the simple location of the new place: with deep pleasure the other evening, I left our leafy neighborhood street on foot, crossed into the blinking, gritty urban downtown, arrived at the Sherwin Williams paint store to pick up sample quarts, and was back at home within 30 minutes. On foot! Along the way I could have had many haircuts or manicures, eaten many Ethiopian or Caribbean meals, visited art galleries or makerspaces, and caught a fleet of buses to anywhere, including a Greyhound.

The three Rs used to be Readin', wRitin' and aRithmetic--always a kind of misconception of learning, a kind of fib. Currently you'll hear in schools and all over the place that  we should Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, which remains true but perhaps doesn't go far enough. I know that not everyone has the luxury of upping and wholesale moving to reach their climate rescue goals, but what if we made a habit of thinking bigger?  What if the Three Rs were Rethink, Reimagine, Recommit?

Every small way of life is an opportunity to recommit to the goal, to rethink and reimagine what we use and how.  I suffered a paroxysm of guilt the other day when I began to excavate my fabric stash, which has continued to accumulate since 2007 (because I LOVED those pajamas that skirt those pants even if I couldn't wear them anymore), which is the last time I did any actual quilting. Then this past week, preparing an eco-holiday lesson for Sunday school, I (re)discovered the concept of  furoshiki.

Reimagining the uses of my beloved fabrics has allowed me to let go of just about all the accumulated paper gift wrapping materials stored in another part of the house (no more tape, no more ribbon!), and to know that with a pair of pinking shears I can repurpose my fabrics and use them again and again--and they are STILL available for quilting if I get around to that again.
Again: small things reimagined as we pack and plan for our smaller space--with breaks for World Cup soccer matches, of course!  Here's an article to help us practice Rethinking, Reimagining and Recommitting about a much BIGGER THING: the entire World Cup.
And now, because this is a poetry blog, a poem from Ada Limón, about hoping, allowing, helping the world to come back... but "you know it's not the same as it was."


Easy light storms in through the window, soft
            edges of the world, smudged by mist, a squirrel’s 

            nest rigged high in the maple. I’ve got a bone 
to pick with whomever is in charge. All year, 

I’ve said, You know what’s funny? and then,
            Nothing, nothing is funny. Which makes me laugh

            in an oblivion-is-coming sort of way. A friend
writes the word lover in a note and I am strangely

excited for the word lover to come back. Come back
            lover, come back to the five and dime. I could 

            squeal with the idea of blissful release, oh lover,
what a word, what a world, this gray waiting. In me,

a need to nestle deep into the safe-keeping of sky.
            I am too used to nostalgia now, a sweet escape

            of age. Centuries of pleasure before us and after
us, still right now, a softness like the worn fabric of a nightshirt

and what I do not say is, I trust the world to come back.
            Return like a word, long forgotten and maligned 

            for all its gross tenderness, a joke told in a sun beam,
the world walking in, ready to be ravaged, open for business.

Karen at her Shocking Clever Blog is our host today.  May you all enjoy a December of merry and bright, bringing all your Rs to bear with pleasure!


  1. Wow, you've inspired me to go to the next level with my wrapping. I gave up wrapping paper years ago and use dish towels and string, figuring these become a useful, additional gift. But I hadn't thought about my own closet! Cannot wait to dive in and find the perfect gift wrap!

  2. You are lucky to have this chance to so deliberately downsize and de-clutter. Also, privileged to live in a place where you can go car free. Definitely aspirational, but not so easy everywhere. Also, in the event that you need to downsize your fabric stash...(finger points at self)!!!

  3. Love this post, Heidi. I had somehow collected a huge stash of bandanas over the years and started to use them for wrapping gifts in this manner. I love how a bright piece of cloth can wrap a gift. And, I also love the word, 'lover' in the poem. That Ada Limon...she's literally a national treasure.

  4. You are really so blessed to be able to move closer to the places you need to be. I've always longed to be within walking distance. And your clever wrapping suggestion is the best! Ada's poem is a gift of language.

  5. It's exciting to see all the changes you're experiencing, Heidi! Your ongoing thoughtfulness about what kind of choices you're making is a real nudge. I am still working my way through years of accumulated wrapping paper and additionally use newspaper/comics to wrap. One of our favorite local stores puts purchases into fabric bags, so we reuse those as well. I love how you're repurposing your closet's contents! Thanks for sharing Ada Limon's poem as well--I think it's one that will sit with me for a while.

  6. Good luck withe move! I'm so envious of a neighborhood in which you can walk everywhere. That's the dream (and it's becoming your reality!) Thanks for the fabric-wrapping tips and thanks for the Ada Limon — always a joy!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!