Tales of a Night Table

Monday, March 14, 2011


I spent part of this evening cleaning my room. Nothing wildly exciting I know, but after two livestock auctions and three major sheep shows that sent us north five times in 6-weeks my sleeping place was beginning to look like – well – a shambles of laundry, suitcases, half completed quilting projects, shoes, and a pile of tax documents waiting to be organized, and, sadly, cobwebs. The bathroom was much, much worse.

I moved through my room with single minded determination, dusting, putting away, throwing away, organizing. When I reached my night table I stopped for a moment. Looking down at all that I keep close to me at night, it crossed my mind that you can tell a lot about a person and who they are by the contents of their night table.

My night table is not a night table at all, but a four foot long antique drop leaf table. Its top is smooth like tumbled glass from years of polishing; the claw feet are rugged and bold like some kind those of a mid evil cat. The urn shaped lamp glows through a sage green shade that sparkles with green and amber beads hanging from its rim. Its power illuminates my latest read. There’s a small floral notepad for jotting down things to do, items to buy, people to call, story ideas, phrases, quotes and projects that come to mind. A small vintage silver tray lined with a woven cloth napkin I found at a flea market in Vermont holds a warm cup of tea in winter and a cool drink in summer. A small Waterford vase holds seasonal flowers, whose fragrance fills the room. A picture of my daughter and I, taken for my parents 50th anniversary sits in the back reminding me of how far the two of us have come and how lucky we have been in our journeys. The radio is set to NPR, my go to station for morning news and interesting talk shows. Then there’s the pile of books at one end, at least eight, with titles like Goat Song, One Acre and Security, Amazing Rare Things, The Contrary Farmer, along with an array of Thoreau and Emerson thrown in for good measure. There are the magazines on farming, gardening, livestock and homesteading, too.

If a stranger came into my room they could tell at a glance that I am a mom, a gardener, a farmer, a homesteader, a reader who likes to educate herself and be informed, a traveler, an owner of livestock and a walker.

But, most of all it would tell them that I like serenity and tranquil surroundings. I like calm.

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