Mary Oliver's "Spring Azures" is one of my favorite poems of all time; there's a line in it that I think of, and repeat to myself, often. Last night was one of those times. When Kel and I moved in together three (?!?!? Has it been that long since my twin sister moved to New York?) years ago, we first bought a little futon thing to tide us over until we found a cheap couch we liked. Eventually, we succumbed to an Ikea piece - black and white striped, so cute! - that was, simply put, fine. It was fine in all aspects of the word.
Fast forward to summer '09. One day the right side of the couch felt a little lower than it used to; a few days later, I sort of slumped into it and was practically sitting on the hardwood floors. When we tried to examine the damage, it was clear: the couch was broken.
But you see, we were sort of in flux - Kel was considering a move back to DC, I was considering leaving NYC altogether to go find a solitary hut on the beach - so neither of us wanted to spring for a new couch. We'd make do.
I am embarrassed to tell you how bad it got. Like, I'm 30 years old. I should have a non-broken couch in my apartment. I hated even looking in my living room, the couch was so painful. Kel and I would watch The X Files Abduction Mythology (kudos to whoever bought me that, bee tee dub) whilst sitting in contorted, ridiculous positions on that couch; I stopped Netflixing because I didn't feel like watching movies in the living room anymore. FOR SERIOUS. So in December I sprung for a new one; it arrived in January.
Never let anyone dismiss the importance of a real, working couch in one's life, especially if one is a tv/movie watcher and book lover whose favorite activity on a snowy day is to snuggle up on said couch with a quilt hand-sewn by one's grandmother and watch the city drown in ice. NEVER underestimate the comfort a couch can bring, particularly when one had been avoiding - seriously! avoiding! - one's living room in favor of one's bedroom just to watch some television in comfort. I mean, truly, this new couch has changed the entire feel of my apartment, and my viewing and sleeping habits, for the better.
Screeching back to Mary Oliver for a moment, she says:
Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, and all the tricks my body knows — the opposable thumbs, the kneecaps, and the mind clicking and clicking —
don't seem enough to carry me through this world and I think: how I would like
to have wings — blue ones — ribbons of flame.
She goes on (and seriously, read it, it's a singular poem of importance for me), but my point about the couch is, there are moments when I feel a profound sense of gratitude for beds, floors, couches, chairs, simply for being able to withstand the pressures of people depending on them. Because I, too, have moments where the bones of my body feel too heavy, that I can't believe anything could support them. I came home very tired last night, and I sat on my beautiful new couch (did I mention it's a sectional? And it has STORAGE contained within it? Did I?), and thought: this couch is carrying me. And that is something to behold.