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The Rug

The Rug: Our Multi-Purpose Room Without Walls

My early morning writing routine happens in the wide open, wall free, but rug defined space right outside the rig. The outdoor rug, made of colorful recycled plastic fibers, is a room of our house on wheels, and what’s on it (and what happens on it) tells a story of our life on the road.

This rug looks “wrong sized” when it’s not in front of the rig. We almost returned it because when we first rolled it out, it was in our front lawn at home, and it looked like a small country had invaded our space. Surely, it was much too big for us. Thankfully, we held out, and kept it long enough to try it in front of our rig, and we saw that it fit perfectly.

There are dumbells on the rug, as this is where Tucker does his daily 10 p.m. workouts. There’s a kettlebell, as it’s my gym space for my morning kettlebell routine. It’s the collection space for Jesse’s prized bottle caps that haven’t been sorted or traded and for his ever expanding stick collection.

Under my trusty $8 Walmart folding lawn chair, resting on the rug, is a fork I use to stir my coffee, which I sip as I am writing. “What in the world,” you’re asking, “are you drinking sludge? Why a fork?!)” No, the half and half I’m using comes in a box, and is a very thick cream, like a sour cream, although tastes nothing like sour cream, and a fork blends it into my java just right. (And I do the stirring outside, because it’s early and I don’t want to wake anyone up.) Next to my chair is the latest book I’m reading, Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler, a birthday gift from my mother in law.

The rug serves as our mudroom/garage/workout space, our closest, our storage area, our unscreened front porch. Next to the steps of our rig, there’s a tub filled with water to rinse off sandy feet. My hacky sack, that Jesse burned a hole in with his magnifying glass, rests here, needing to be thrown away. On the other side of our steps is the collapsible trash can that we use as storage – it holds our baseball mitts, balls, a frisbee, a brightly colored Mexican blanket for the beach, a yoga mat, hats.

There’s a few more things on the rug – shadows from the palm tree and small shrub that provide a bit of shade. There’s the red ants, which bit me while I was doing kettlebell on the rug yesterday. There’s a crease, where we fold it in half and roll it up so it fits in our storage when we travel. It’s the last thing we pack.

And finally, there’s all the memories woven among the fibers of this rug: memories of rocky sites it has laid across, like Summerhill Park in Chelan, WA, the smoke from wildfires thick and oppressive, doubly so as it mixed with 100 degree plus heat. Our rug has rested on asphalt and concrete at some sites, like Pacifica, just outside of San Francisco, the place where we experienced being in an atmospheric river. Some places, like Gonzaga Bay in Mexico, it took multiple rocks to keep it from blowing away in the wind. I was sitting on this rug in San Felipe, Mexico when we learned that one of Tucker’s friends (vaccinated) had tested positive for Covid-19, and we figured it wouldn’t be long before we all got it.

The rug has been where kids gather to play games, Magic the Gathering and Uno. It’s where we’ve sat with friends at night under the stars, talking about the magnificent and the mundane.

Sitting in a chair, on this rug, is where I begin most mornings, writing, chasing after a kernel of an idea, digging into the rich soil of my active, or frightened, or anxious, or grateful mind. The rug holds space for me, as my pen dances across the page, hand and heart working hard to get to the tap root of a truth in my life. The rug invites me to sit, and under my feet, it issues the same invitation morning after morning: trust that writing is good for your soul, and that it will reveal something that’s been hidden. “I’ll hold space for your writing,” the rug whispers. “Let’s see what emerges…”

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