(Scene: Plant and Linda converse while Linda sweeps her sun-dappled kitchen floor.)
Plant (curiously): What are you doing?
Linda (tolerantly): Cleaning a living space helps people stay healthy.
P: And organized. Why are you sweeping around those towers of manufactured goods rising up from the floor like staggering geometric islands?
L: The stacks of books, CDs, and DVDs we’ve been meaning to move?
P: To where?
L: You’ve put your best leaf right on the pulse of the problem.
L: These are just some of the unread, unheard, and unviewed stacks in the house.
P: How did they get there?
L: We brought them in.
P: Why unread, unheard, and unviewed?
L: We’re retired so we have copious imaginary time, but in reality, we have none. We’ve structured our time with other tasks.
P: Like what?
L: Like hauling your pot around the block daily in a red wagon for you to have a change of scene.
P: We should do that more often.
L: And we’ve been cleaning out a rental house.
P: I cannot imagine renting out a pot to live in.
L: That stretches my brain.
P: And cleaning out a pot should just yield dirt and roots, not stacks.
L: Lots of stuff was left in the rental house. We had to triage decisions into categories: donate, give away, or trash.
P: This takes up all your discretionary time?
L: I exercise several days per week at the YMCA.
P: Primarily for health.
L: Accountability, too: The motivational, social network grills me if I’m absent.
P: That does not help you clean up your spaces.
L: Actually, a YMCA friend helped me locate a handyman to whip that house into shape.
P: This house, I hope?
L: No, the one we’ve been cleaning out. Once the stuff is gone, we can work on the structure.
P: However, you are doing all this yourselves.
L: But as you know, we cannot do everything.
P: She sweeps, but she doth not spin.
L: We don’t have all the skills needed, plus we’re traveling again. The handyman will make progress while we’re gone.
P: You and your husband Steve are going?
L: Yes. We’ll leave you here in the Plant Waterer’s cosseting care.
P: You are leaving me. Again.
L: With other plants to keep you company.
P: What is that thing with which you keep dancing around this kitchen?
L (frowning): The broom?
P: Appears to be made of dried plant branches. Death bound to a stick. Designed to round up dirt and put it somewhere less obvious.
L: We keep the broom in the pantry. In ye olden days, there were broom closets. Reminds me of a story.
P: At least you are still here to tell it to me.
L: A woman entered her pantry to get her broom. She was over-obligated and stressed out and wanted to get one simple task out of the way.
P: Sounds familiar.
L: Her broom was badly bent in the middle.
L: The woman asked her husband about it.
L: He said she’d been grumpy because of being over-extended and stressed out when she’d asked him to clean the brooms. He’d taken the brooms outside and whacked them against a tree and bent that one.
P: Poor tree. We plants have empathy for each other.
L: Yes. Then he put it back. And he felt better.
P: He’d whacked it against a tree, and he felt better. You danced it around the room, and you felt better.
P: Because cleaning your space is something you can control when other things are out of control in your life?
P: …Therapy. You’re going away partly to reset yourself.
L: Uhhh…yes. Insightful, Plant. We’ll reconnect with long-time friends, reinforce our friendships that live in the spaces between the times we see them, refill the wells on both sides.
P: Go. I will keep a leaf on the pulse of things here. Broom therapy: I like it.
About the Author: Plant and Linda Lemery email@example.com welcome reader comments and thank Faye Kushner for her help.