IF 2005 TAUGHT ME anything, it was the need to put whitespace into my life. Perhaps the most useful slices of 2005 for me tactile whitespaces. I got down-and-dirty on many square feet of floor space while cleaning out two houses and now before the end of December I have white dusty knees to show I am at it again--this time cleaning up as we tile a large groundfloor space in the new house. That's a cameraphone snapshot of our well-used tile cutter at the halfway point of the kitchen floor.
These physical tasks keep me sane and help balance my priorities. People need thier face-to-face moments and I think communities grow when they join in physical toil. I spent many of my early teen years painting walls, removing litter, collecting scrap newspaper and sweeping sidewalks. I got no money for these Saturday sessions but along with a handful of friends I normally got as much as I wanted for lunch, discovering three-foot-long sub sandwiches, Pizza Hut pizzas with anchovies and grinders. Those moments, eating and working, because they made me feel I was contributing something while I got free food, which helped me socialise.
Ireland's elected give lip service to these kinds of community initiatives. I'm curious to see if they're evident in Cashel, my new hometown. I think I want to help nurture these kinds of civic activities, if only because they build white space in my life.
Picture of time-tested tile cutter as seen through my Nokia 9500.