Harmony is the essence of feng shui.
Feng shui is, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “a Chinese geomantic practice in which a structure or site is chosen or configured so as to harmonize with the spiritual forces that inhabit it.” In other words, feng shui is all about making your space harmonious with spiritual/natural forces and thus with you. Practitioners of feng shui get paid to harmonize spaces.
Up until this point, I’ve been a bit skeptical about the whole thing.
But then I found out that the words “feng shui” mean “wind” and “water.” Now, I’m a lot skeptical about it.
That’s because I don’t find water particularly harmonizing. Not right now, anyway.
Sure, water is not only enjoyable but useful and essential. I love to swim, I love to boat, and there is nothing I love to drink more than water. I can’t say that I love to do laundry, but I do love clean clothes, and how would that happen without water?
Clean clothes, clean hair, hydration, entertainment — none of this would happen without water.
But water also has its downsides — particularly when it’s up. In other words, when the water table is up.
And the water table, at least at our house, was up this week. Way up. Up enough to flood our basement.
A lot of people with basements have problems with flooding every time it rains. We’re pretty lucky, though. When it rains a lot for a long period of time, the cracks in the cement floor will start to get wet, but actual flooding is rare.
Apparently, 2020 is a rare year.
A few nights ago, the house, which up until that point had been an admirable bulwark against the encroaching moisture, gave in — and the waters came in.
Except for a few spots, most of the basement floor was covered with water.
I spent all night (literally!) moving whatever I could.
Unfortunately, I had a lot of extra things in the basement because I’d been cleaning other rooms of the house over the past few months and had set aside many items in the basement to eventually sell. A lot of those items, now ruined by water, are headed for the junk pile. Other items, like extra bookcases, were moved to the high spots that somehow escaped the water.
Everything that could be damaged by water, such as bags of milk replacer, had to placed on an elevated surface.
The basement was once fairly organized. Not so much any longer.
And that’s true of the rest of the house, too.
Rooms on the main floor of the house were reorganized to accommodate items from the basement. Shoes and boots for working on the ranch went in the porch closet. And I now share my study with the two sets of free-standing, easily-damaged-by-water shelves that held towels in the basement bathroom and cleaning supplies in the main area of the basement, respectively.
Harmony? Not exactly.
I can remember enough dry years to appreciate the fact that water is more than beneficial, so I don’t want to jinx anything by bemoaning the, er, overload of water.
And I can definitely see that there is something to the whole idea of being in harmony with your surroundings and the idea that how your environment is organized and what your environment contains have an impact on that harmony.
But I do think that I have a right to be skeptical that any organizational practice whose name has anything to do with water is going to instill harmony in my home.
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