Europe is getting back to ‘normal’ and I find myself hovering at the threshold.
I’ve given myself permission to gaze back at the past few months, contemplating what I have learned about our life at Lescure. I’m taking time to sit back and see what I’m holding on to, clinging to even. Wondering what can rise anew. There’s a lot of writing. A visual diary. There are long conversations with Thomas and beautiful exchanges with friends. And more writing still.
This extended reflective mood calls for chores that are appropriate to the intimacy of contemplation – the big physical jobs feel like I’m avoiding the pain of introspection. And that’s how I’ve come to spend several days restoring an old cupboard.
The cabinet, ravished by time and a lack of love, was hiding in the shadows in the darkest nook of the local entrepôt brocante. I felt it before I saw it.
There ‘s always this moment of regret when I get started on projects like these. What have I dragged into the house? Who is HS? Why are his or her initials branded in the back panel? In full daylight there’s no hiding the holes and cracks, the stains and grease, the musty smell. But then a certain softness descends, reminding me of the importance of bringing to light and healing scars. To find value in flaws and history. Wabi sabi.
A bad woodworm infestation had structurally weakened the cupboard and as first step Thomas repaired the cabinet’s feet, doors, and hinges. He also added shelfs made from 18th century floor boards. Next, a deep cleaning of the mucky surface with a mixture of white spirit and linseed oil. Then on to a wood stain treatment and the final finishing with home made polish (our hives are buzzing with colonies of bees this year and we harvested our first Lescure honey and beeswax).
I’m pleased with the imperfect end result and I plan to give the wardrobe new purpose in one of the smaller chambres de bonne (maid’s rooms) on the second floor. Quite appropriate to its modest and humble beauty.
It’s been a gentle restoration. Enough stimulus to get out of my head, but softness too to help me find new meaning. The pull of the outside world is strong, but I’m going to sit with uncertainty a little longer, shrouded in the melancholy of this cupboard.