Spurred to Action

A warm, furry weight just dropped onto my right foot with a thud.

Our 15-year-old terrier — perhaps aware that she has been granted a new lease on life — has taken to throwing herself at our feet, where she carries out a vigorous display of snorting and writhing in a show of appreciation. With a running start, she dives foot-ward in a fit of exuberant joy, perhaps like the optimistic rush that can suddenly wash over you as you’re doing something as mundane as pouring your morning Cheerios.

The day stretches ahead full of promise. Fresh ideas tumble over one another like newborn littermates clambering for mother. Early energy has you thinking big (rearrange closets, move heavy furniture, pick out new appliances).

Inevitably, dinnertime arrives too soon and you’re reminded that every household project requires return treks to the hardware store. And if you’re honest, you have to admit that you got a tad sidetracked by televised Big Ten football, “just one” Wire episode on Netflix, alphabetizing your spice rack, or reading the Sunday paper (then nodding off). The expectation of all those things you thought you could do was probably too ambitious.

Fortunately, the lower humidity, cool nights, and deep-blue skies of autumn have us feeling revitalized. We’re suddenly in a kitchen frenzy, making soups and stews, or pesto and roasted vegetables to freeze for the season. Or we’re out prowling the last of this year’s outdoor antiques markets.

This is the time to be Aesop’s ant, not the grasshopper.

You can just imagine that, along with a stocked pantry, the industrious ant has a fine collection of art and antiques. While the fabled grasshopper was flitting about, the ant was gathering things that mattered.

Gallivanting is fun. But maintaining a home has its own seductive appeal.

At the Bureau of Urban Living in Midtown Detroit, I recently spotted an anniversary card that read something like: “I thought I would be bored with you by now, but I’m not.” You might say the same of an owner’s relationship with his or her house. Like a marriage, our spaces keep us interested and anchored with the promise of what could be, the demands for maintenance, and the comfort they provide in return.

We wake up on a Saturday, have that bowl of morning cereal, and the possibility of personal time and private space send a small surge of anticipation. Like the Jackson Browne lyrics, our homes make us want to get up and do it again.