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LIBRARY: Plain pleasures for being healthy, happy at home

Last week I mentioned ways to use windows around your house to enjoy being healthy at home.

This week, let’s turn around and look inside.

No, I’m not going to try to swami-ize you (sounds like a car wax, doesn’t it?). But to get at this, let’s think about Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “The Purloined Letter,” available through Overdrive and Hoopla in Clark County Public Library’s online library.

In the story, Auguste Dupin finds a letter that eludes the most thorough and scientific searches of the Parisian police.

They fail because they search every hiding place. Dupin succeeds because he understands the letter has been left in plain sight.

Because the police looked for what was hidden, they couldn’t see what was right before their eyes.

A good way to be healthy at home is to see what’s right in front of us.

Screens show the world beyond our walls. So, we often forget treasures within them.

What we need to be healthy and happy at home is at home, but often we miss that because, as Dupin said, it “escapes observation by dint of being so excessively obvious.”

For example, except to dust, when’s the last time you really looked at your stuff, your knick-knacks and tchotchkes, your wall art and toys.

Like birds we spend a great amount of time and care feathering our nests with wonderful baskets, dolls, dishes, books, arrowheads, birdhouses and  drawings. You’ve seen many of those displayed in the library’s foyer. They all came from Clark County homes.

Before they were displays, they were décor.

Take a little walking tour of your home and look closely at the things you’ve collected. I’ll bet you’ll be amazed at things you have, and in many cases, you’ll be heartened by the memories they will evoke.

Every home is an art gallery, but through long association with pictures and photographs, they become as innocuous as the wall color.

Take a tour of your art. Spend some time looking close. You’ll be amazed at what you’ve forgotten and surprised by things you overlooked.

Play with your toys. You know you have them. Little stuffed animals, wind-up toys too charming to throw away, tape dispensers in the shape of animals, those solar-celled waving Chinese good luck cats.

There’s a small felted wool rabbit on our kitchen table. She’s my pal Tulip from Bulgaria.

She’s a big fan of fresh oatmeal raisin cookies, and on afternoons when I bake them, we often have coffee together and talk.

We’re pretty simpatico, but sometimes her observations about myself and the world startle me.

Imaginative engagement with your home is no more unusual and sometimes even more satisfying than staring a screen.

You’ll discover things you forgot you loved. You’ll discover things about yourself you forgot you loved.

In one of my favorite Murdoch Mysteries available through the Acorn TV link in CCPL’s online library, William Shatner plays Mark Twain.

At the end of the episode, Twain encourages Constable Crabtree to get over a lost love and to continue his novel writing by saying, “Take it from me, son, reality can be beaten with enough imagination. Go to it.”

And don’t forget to snack with your pets, too.

New on the library’s Facebook page atfacebook.com/clarkbooks:

— Library Director Julie Maruskin presents a video that shows you how to transplant the tomato starts you got from Seed Library tomato seeds.

— Reference librarian Angela Turner presents sign-language videos.

If you have tips for being healthy and happy at home share them with me at ohn.clarkbooks@gmail.com or post them on the library’s Facebook page.

Have a swell week.

John Maruskin is director of adult services at the Clark County Public Library. He can be reached at john.clarkbooks@gmail.com.