Year End Review: The Garden
Fifty Years

Angle of Repose: A Riff in Two Parts


Part 1

  • Familiar with the term "angle of repose?"
  • (Not to be confused with the novel by Wallace Stegner by the same name.  Great book, by the way.  Totally worth reading.)
  • Well.  "Angle of repose" is actually an engineering or mechanics term.  It refers to the maximum angle at which an object can rest on an inclined plane without sliding down.
  • I know.
  • But I tend to think about "angle of repose" in personal terms.
  • Like. . .
  • I need to be organized.  I operate best when I'm organized.  I Get Things Done when I'm organized.
  • And that means having . . . 
  • A (fairly) detailed and current To-Do list, a (somewhat) clear surface to work on, a (reasonably) up-to-date calendar. 
  • And it definitely means being able to get my hands on whatever it is I need . . . to get my job done.
  • So that's my personal "angle of repose"  --  the angle at which I can rest on an inclined plane without sliding down.
  • But sometimes, life throws so much . . . stuff. . . at you that your personal "angle of repose" gets all messed up.  You know.  That plane starts to incline a little too much.   You (the object) takes on a new "form."  You can feel yourself sliding. 
  • Because you're totally at the wrong angle.
  • Like. . .
  • The holidays will do it.  So will a major deadline for work.  Hosting a party will do it.  Health problems will definitely do it.  And becoming a caregiver will, too.
  • Put them all together?
  • Yeah.  Everything comes sliding down. 
  • (In a hurry.)
  • Paper piles up.  Things don't get written on the calendar.  Plans don't get made.  To-do lists?  Totally in your head.  Desk surface?  Not in sight.  Email replies?  Forget it.  Wrapping gifts?  Pffffft. . . 
  • WAY inclined.  Piled high.  And there it goes. . .
  • Sliding. . .
  • Sliding. . .
  • Sliding. . .
  • Too much "object" ...  on an inclined plane .... tipped at a precarious angle ... makes for a bad "angle of repose."

Part 2

  • But holidays end.  And deadlines pass.  Parties are fun while they last (but they don't last forever).  And people heal.
  • The inclined plane . . . eventually . . . begins to flatten out again.
  • And, slowly, you can work your way through the paperwork piles.  Catch up your calendar.  Reschedule what you missed.  (Oops.)  Corral the mental To-Do list on paper (again).  Uncover the desk surface.  Catch up on the email.  Make your apologies.  
  • And regain that . . . more normal . . . "angle of repose."
  • For now, at least.