Ecology and Economy - Saturday The Work Room Residency Blog
7 Feb 2015
In this day and age ‘ecology’ only means ‘economy’ for some. Most often what is “cheap” financially (as we have come to associate economy) is not so environmentally nor personally as it’s substance breaks natural order and relationship to source (causing fractures that need healing). Mrs. Beeton’s guide is very much about economy and ecology - which equated with survival in her time. Ironically she did not (survive). (died from complications from childbirth, perhaps related to syphilis of husband).
My experience of being a Single Mum is largely domestic. Household management becomes running the household, that is I never stop moving from the moment my son wakes till the moment my head drops on the pillow (16 hours later and then sometimes a couple times in the night). Planning meals, buying ingredients, cooking, cleaning, budgeting - and bigger picture. Are my son’s needs met, spiritually, emotionally, physically - now, in one year, in ten, in 20… till the end of his time on earth? What is he interested in, how do I cultivate the good? When do I step back? What other engagement does he need outside of me? How do I ensure he has positive male role models? How do I ensure that he feels good about his present and his future with the full knowledge that some disappointment is inevitable and necessary for development? And do I present myself as the best role model given my resources? How do I give him the foundations to be himself?
Interestingly Mrs. Beeton greatly concerned with how people ‘feel’ in her guide. When referring to scheduling visits or dinners, or even hiring servants, ensuring the peace and harmony of a household is not just about efficiency but also ensuring there is time for rest and play.
The etymology of the word ‘ecology’ and ‘economy’ both derive from the Greek meaning ‘home’. Where ‘ecology’ means ‘study’ of the house. Economy means ‘household manager’. Ergo one is about the relationship to the house, wherein the other use of the house.
Within my own model of ‘household management’ there is very little room for personal enjoyment, rest or play for myself- as I live it, or see it. Partly this is due to the very demanding needs of my 2 year old - who I adore and am so thankful to have time with. Part of it is my own perception and ‘training’ of how things need to be done efficiently.
How do I turn the mundane of our lives into a celebration, a dance?
I am brought back the Virginia Woolf’s ‘Room of One’s Own’ and the need for sanctuary. That is the maintenance of a ‘private room’. In my kitchen dance I sometimes reflected on the very fine line between a cell and a sanctuary. In The Work Room I am thankful for empty space of nothing. Space, expanse - within four walls.