"Creature Comforts"

As the weather transitions, and our part of the country prepares for winter months...this weekend I found comfort in being a home-body even more than usual. Experiencing "creature comforts" satisfied my soul and allowed me to be filled with immense gratitude. Here's why...

This weekend I happily hunkered down and found a renewing ritual that reminded me of my parents, especially my mom. On Saturday, after resting-up from weekday travel...finally around 5 p.m. my "lights went on" the first shift of my my "night-owlness" clicked in. I was fully awake, and ready to indulge any creative whim that I gravitated to. So, I decided to further inhabit my recently created Mango Studio, which my thoughtful and loving daughter created for me this summer. After discarding a few boxes, moving another small table in, and a few file baskets, I turned my attention to the windows. I decided to use the beautiful white cotton curtains, given to me by a friend. Hmm...I was feeling more energetic than usual for a simple project like this. Yep, I had "happy expectancy"!

As I brought the curtains up from the laundry room, and set up the ironing board I could feel a warmth in my heart begin to glow...I knew...I was feeling my mom's presence (she made her transistion 11/5/04). It felt good. As I began to press the curtains, their scent of being freshly laundered, with a hint of Downy permeated the room. I smiled and breathed a sigh of satisfaction. I was soothed and comforted, and wanted to make this experience last as long as I could. I continued to iron, and the scents began to waft throughout my home...the more I ironed the better I felt. This experience transported me back to childhood, and young adulthood when my mother would putter around the house making everything homey and beautiful, and uniquely-creative...she had an imagination that was out of this world...and it showed in the canvas of our home. And...when she would iron, especially evoked a feeling of security in me...everything from the smell of the iron, to the sound of the steam, to the scent of the detergent and fabric softener. (Even the preparation for ironing...she would "sprinkle" the clothes with water, then nest them into the laundry basket as they awaited their time to be ironed.) This all gave me comfort...and I didn't know how much until this weekend. I know that creating a beautiful home and yard is what gave my mom and dad comfort, joy and a great sense of pride. It fed their souls, and mine too.

As I write this I am reminded of other "creature comforts" like the smell of my mom's homemade goodies some of which include: bread, biscuits, rolls, sweet-potato pie, cinnamon cofee-cake (yes, with the nutty, gooey goodness on the bottom), chicken & dumplings, cornbread, greens, turkey, dressing, baked sweet potatoes, apple pie, turkey pie, grilled cheese with bacon, popcorn (popped on top of the stove), skillet-toast with strawberry jam, Constant Comment tea, Pecan Sandies, and homemade ice-cream. Oh...and I can't forget her homemade pizza...the crust made from scratch...and homemade pear preserves made with fresh pears from the tree in our back yard.

And from my dad, "creature comforts" included the smell of his famous barbeque sauce simmering on the stove, smelling the wood he used in grilling the meat on one of his many self-made barbeque grills; his homegrown tomatoes, green beans, carrots, radishes, corn, and green onions from his garden...but most of all (its' a tie with his barbque sauce) is the smell of...sawdust. My heart remembers that deeply. My dad was a master craftsman and wood was his favorite medium. There was not any place in our home that was not adorned with his beautiful and meticulous woodworking talent...working with wood made his heart sing! I grew up with the smell of sawdust...and I woke up to the sound of his electric saw on many a Saturday morning.

And, oh...his whistling....oh my gosh...he could whistle like a songbird...for minutes on end. It was unbelievably beautiful. Every now and then I will hear someone whistle like that, and it's like a homing device for my heart. I stop whatever I'm doing and I have to find the source of the lovely sound....and when I do I am beaming all over..and sometimes a bit teary. I smile and tell them my story if I can..and usually cannot leave without giving them a hug. Thinking about it even now brings a gentle hush to my heart. ...I am so very abundantly blessed.

Merriam-Webster defines "creature comforts" as "something - as in food or special accomodations - that gives bodily comfort". I find experiences that awaken my senses in a satisfying way...sometimes to a memory, or maybe even to anticipate a new beginning...are holistically comforting. That is what home is to me..."figuratively" speaking. it "literally" home...or family, or friends, or pets...or other relationships that grace our lives with love, beauty, excitement...and...a place to feel safe enough to be ourselves..all of these are "creature comforts" to me and give me soul-comfort as well...and I want us all to have that. So...

...that is what my heart sends to you right now, a blessing an angel... that you take this very moment to acknowledge and appreciate your "creature comforts"...the old ones...and yes, pay attention to the new you can consciously add them to the treasure-trove of your life.

Be Well.
P.S. As of 8/14/07, this story is a companion to my post on "DNA & Creativity" as told by my Baby Cheryl-self...on my Art in Every Day blog. I invite you to read that as well : )


Tanaya said...

I have been meaning to comment on this post all weekend. You have written such a beautiful, visual image. Thank you for sharing.

I can smell and feel and tast the comforts of your life.

I think this is your best writing yet!

Anonymous said...

I was very moved by Creature Comforts. Both my parents transitioned in the 90s. I can remember my Mom cooking on a saturday afernoon in the fall by the wonderful aromas that came from her kitchen.

I am comforted by the smell of freshly ironed linen (my mom used to iron cotton sheets)and fresh laundry.

I miss my Mom so much around the holidays she enjoyed celebrating so much...and the food ooooooh the food. I always thought it would be there for me.....I am so grateful for the experience...and the lesson not to ever take life for granted...

Love 2 U


Cheryl said...

Thank you! I'm glad you were able to taste & smell the creature comforts of my life from my writing! And thanks for your compliments on my written word :)

Cheryl said...

I am so glad that my reminiscences have touched you, and hit on memories of your mom. It's amazing how our senses hold so many memories...we are blessed to have such rich ones.
Godspeed to you my dear...

Royce Addington: said...

Talented Cheryl,

I just said a little prayer of thanks to your parents for bringing their talents forth into the world...bringing you into the world... and supporting and teaching you the importance of carrying these extraordinary gifts out into OUR world for others to be INSPIRED. MUSE begets MUSE! They must have been and still are so PROUD OF YOU!

Reading your beautiful story only

Royce Addington: said...

Where did the rest of my last post go? Will try again.

Reading your beautiful story only reaffirms my belief that time is an took me there with you... on the sensory remembering of the good and cherished memories of your childhood!

Cheryl Finley: said...

Dear Royce,
Your words are a gift to me...that leave me just about heart's so full I can't speak; but you know and feel my .....?? Thank you for all that you are, all that you give...and all that you are becoming, for you consistently inspire me with your creativity and friendship.

Namaste my dear, dear friend.

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