alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

empty


Empty


I am always emptying something -
compost buckets, watering cans, coffee grounds,
refrigerator fruit drawer.

I empty things and they refill as if by magic.

The sink fills with dishes waiting for the dishwasher
to be emptied, dishes stacked in a cupboard
soon to be dirtied again.

Sometimes I sit and stare

at unopened work emails with a subject line
URGENT!!!!!

paralyzed, lacking will to finish one cycle and begin
a new one, opening up space
for another to enter
the emptiness

Emptiness that pulls at me
with primordial longing
as if it has existed forever
for just a moment or two.


Note: First I was thinking about an "empty mind" - wondering if you could take a picture of an empty mind, what would it look like? It was too esoteric. Then this came.
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64 comments:

Susan said...

I know that feeling. And how! You captured it very well in your poem, Ruthie. I love it.

The Bug said...

I feel this way about laundry - and about work too. My job is long periods of reading blogs punctuated by little bursts of actual work. When the work shows up I'm often so numbed by non-work that I just can't face it right away. Even now I have a project I should be doing... but my desk is so neat & tidy!

Anet said...

My kids love to wait for the kitchen sink to be empty to bring down their arm loads of dirty dishes.
Everytime!
Emptying is such a relentless task.
Loved the poem:)

shicat said...

Empty can be such a good thing,like the empty space on the wall that I like to stare at when I get home from work.
As far as chores go, you nailed it. The never ending cycle.
I am reading Animal Vegetable, Miracle, and Kingsolver has something interesting to say about how we hurry through our chores just to get to the next.She says," All that hurry can blur the truth that life is a zero sum equation.Every minute I save will get used on something else,possibly no more sublime than staring at the newel post trying to remember what I just ran upstairs for. On the other hand attending to a task in front of me-even a quotidian chore-might make it into part of a good day,rather than just a rock in the road to someplace else."
Still I hate those dang dishes.

California Girl said...

I particularly like the line,

Sometimes I sit and stare

The photo is gorgeous. The yellow flowers against the blue barn; frameable and salable.

Loring Wirbel said...

Great! Proof of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics lies in compost buckets and recycling barrels and kitty-litter pans (and why does it always seem like I'm the only one emptying them?). Truth be told, I think that food scraps and plastic containers reproduce in secret, because nature abhors a vacuum.

CottageGirl said...

I get your drift on several levels and I can identify with all of them!

Sometimes it is so hard to get it in gear to keep things in an orderly fashion ... dishwasher, grandkids' toys, picture files, underwear, perspectives.

Beautiful pic!

Rachael said...

What a great concept... and so beautifully written. :)

Nancy said...

So true. Beautifully written.

photowannabe said...

This made me smile. Just the other day a friend and I were talking about cleaning closets and how the empty space when done mysteriously fills back up again. I don't know how that happens.
Beautiful picture and great thoughts on empty. Sometimes I think that I am empty minded too, but I don't know how to show it.

Annie said...

Beautiful photos! I also thought of an empty mind at first. But I can totally relate to this one too. I'm mostly emptying the laundry basket... I guess this is where chaos theory comes in.

alice said...

I'm just jealous, I'm always filling many things, fridge with food, cupboards with boxes and cans, shelves with cleaned and ironed clothes, accounts with money... I just turn my eyes away and pffftt, empty again!

ds said...

Oh,my. Will be thinking about this for a while...

freefalling said...

Wanna see empty?
Go to street view google maps,
stuart highway,ghan, nt, australia
and have a squiz
(is that another australianism)
(it means "a look" as in, "give us a squiz).
Wouldn't like to be stuck out there.
You wouldn't last long.

Pat said...

Lovely poem and photo.

dutchbaby said...

I wonder what percentage of our lives we spend "emptying".

May your next empty last more than a minute; unless it's a glass of wine.

gemma said...

Empty reminds us of all we do have.
An empty bowl on the Thanksgiving table reminds us that everyone is not as fortunate.

Mary Ellen said...

And the glad, fresh picture is such an antidote to the empty-mindedness of overload (e-mail overload for sure).

Butler and Bagman said...

Great poem. Great photo.

Ruth said...

Susie, on top of all the household emptying and filling, you also water and feed those chickens, since they're your hobby. That's one I don't have to do at ours.

Ruth said...

Bug - I am getting more and more that way. It is harder to force myself to do the hard work. Your comment is so funny - partly because it's so true for me! Hahaha.

(Now, it's time to sleep because my body says it's time, hehe.)

Ruth said...

Thank you, Anet. It is my relentless goal (I can't help it) to clean up one mess before the next begins. So if a new project happens in the kitchen, I would very much like the kitchen to be clean when it begins. It is very rare when it happens that way.

Ruth said...

Cathy, oh thank you for that wonderful comment. I am one who always lived in the next moment, the next task, without being able to enjoy and focus on the current moment and task. It's so true that there is pleasure in good work, hard work. Sometimes when I face the endless emails and feel paralyzed, I close my eyes and ask myself what is it I enjoy doing. Funny thing, I enjoy communicating with people, resolving problems and writing. So I should be thrilled to have the job of answering emails. :)

Ruth said...

Thank you, California Girl. Much of my life has been sitting and staring. I don't know how Don puts up with me.

Ruth said...

True, Loring. Oh I'm so glad Bishop lives outdoors.

What you wrote reminded me of one of rauf's older posts with photos of temple ruins, and the vegetation had taken over - climbing over furniture and all. It would take me a while to find it . . .

Ruth said...

I agree, CottageGirl. If I just sustain my piddling, I do fine. It's when I sit like a lazy arse that the piles happen. I do that a lot, I'm afraid.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Rachael. Now when I re-read the poem I almost can't get my head around it. Maybe I had a single moment of emptiness and clarity, and now I can't get it back.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Nancy. Now when I read it I feel loopy.

Ruth said...

It's true, Sue. I have managed to keep my closet pretty good though after cleaning it out a couple years ago. Having the basic plan set has been helpful. But it does take sustainable piddling to maintain the order.

I have never had a problem getting rid of things. I like getting down to just a few things in my closet.

Ruth said...

Annie, ha, yes. For me, the laundry is joy, thankfully. I suppose that's why I didn't mention it in the poem.

Maybe your baby has been born by now??

Ruth said...

Haha, Alice. Yes, the opposite problem is true for me too. :)

Ruth said...

DS, since coming back to this poem, now it just sends me in loops that I can't get out of. I guess that's ok, but it kind of bugs me now.

:)

Ruth said...

Wow, Letty, that is certainly empty and looks hot too. Reminds me of the airplane chase scene with Cary Grant in North by Northwest, without Cary Grant and the airplane.

I just had a squiz at a google street view of our little town. Fun!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Pat.

I wish I hadn't read your post about fried chicken at Rip's. I'm dying now.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, do you suppose it balances the filling?

I think when I pay closer attention and sustain that, I also notice the empty moments last a little longer. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Gemma, thank you for the light of your comment and visit. It stunned me with its direct, simple truth and got me thinking in a different way. I love it.

And your blog is the same way, sweet and full of light - fresh too.

Ruth said...

Good point, Mary Ellen. When I get bogged down in the overload, a break into beauty is a good remedy. I guess that's why I stare - best if I can stare at something beautiful, and not the computer screen (unless there's a beautiful picture on it).

Ruth said...

Thank you, B & B. I'm not sure what the connection is between the two, but the photo did prompt the poem.

Barry said...

Their need for emptiness drains the fullness from us.

I especially find that feeling when confronted by stacks of mail.

All wanting something from me to achieve the emptiness they demand.

Moannie said...

The older I get the more I think...no time left to meditate...find an empty space, fill it with white, relax Annie. Day dreams? No more...times a wasting, time enough for an empty mind sooner rather than later.
Sleep?
Perchance to dream.

Jeanie said...

I'm such a contradiction. I have trouble with a full email box. It's overwhelming. Yet all the clutter, the stacked up magazines and clippings and yarn and art supplies and who knows what don't seem to bother me.

I could do with a bit more of an empty mind these days, though!

Leena said...

I say only, that your photo is not empty - it`s full of enjoyable colours and lines, it cares my tired head, which is too full of - everything!!

Oliag said...

Your poem has kept my mind full with all sorts of thoughts on emptyness and fullness...how if you have one the other seems desirable ...how I can never actually empty my mind...and so on and so on! And it has been interesting to read the comments here...the different short takes on being empty...all very interesting!

...and I love your photo of course!

Ruth said...

Yes, Barry - it is draining.

Remember, just because someone bounces a ball at you doesn't mean you have to catch it.

Unless of course it's work related that you can't help!

Ruth said...

Moannie - Confound it all.

Ruth said...

Jeanie - we are all a contradiction, well most of us. I'm guessing what bothers one person wouldn't bother another. But it sounds as though a lot of us are bothered by a full email inbox.

Ruth said...

Oliag, I began this wondering what an empty mind looks like. The Buddhists and others who propose it - what should it be empty for? Something else to fill it?

I do feel better when I get rid of the old tapes and rules and expectation propaganda. It's good to meet the day without preconceptions or assumptions.

Peter said...

Nature is supposed to abhor vacuum. I don't know about the (empty) mind! Sometimes it's too full!

Nautankey said...

Ellos..long time not been here. Lovely new template and a great header :-) n ofcoz beautiful poetry

Sandy said...

I love your thoughts and that photo is gorgeous!!

renaye said...

empty mind?? reminds me of homer but just without his brain.

Ruth said...

Dear Leena, my sweet Finnish sister, we find relief in our photos, I think.

Ruth said...

Peter, it's strange how we/I long for the emptiness, if it isn't natural for long.

Ruth said...

Auntie Sandy, won't you come sit on the farm a while? You've been so busy.

Bob Johnson said...

Love the image Ruth, and the prose very cool, I can relate with the email, don't wanna open especially when it says urgent, like being on empty at least for a while,lol.

Ruth said...

Renaye, you are more educated than I am. It's been a long time since I read Homer in Latin class - high school, that's 36 years ago. :|

Anna said...

Ruth dear this is beautiful, we are blessed that they refill as if by magic, just wish the sink would not fill that fast, lol. Love the pic in this post too. Anna :)

Ruth said...

Nautankey - ellos to you toos, yes a long time, I started to wonder if you passed out in the Chennai heat. Thank you for the visit and kind words. And congrats again, such happy news.

Ruth said...

Bob, remember the song Runnin' on Empty Runnin' blind - running into the sun . . .? Jackson Browne. An empty gas tank isn't one I want to last long.

Less than a week and you're in China!!

Ruth said...

You are so very right, Anna, we are blessed that things fill as if by magic. The alternative is so sadly true in most of the world.

Kerri said...

Wow Ruth....you blow me away! You need to publish your writing!!

rauf said...

The picture itself is a poem

Emptying is a huge relief Ruth.

Ruth said...

Thank you, sweet Kerri.

I am blown away by your macro shots.

Ruth said...

Thank you, rauf. Emptying doesn't last long, unfortunately. But it is a pleasure.