In praise of dust

Dads are not often praised for a lack of activity. Yet it is possible for a little dust to be a sign of maturity and care.

Don’t believe me?

Well, for starters, scientists have apparently proven that exposure to dust, along with some other environmental pollutants in the home, early in a child’s life actually reduces their risk of developing asthma and allergies later in life. In fact our modern obsession with cleaning fluids and anti-bacterial products is making us all more prone to disease. Go figure!

There is another way dust matters though.

Message on a bottle

Message on a bottle

I recently dug out (!) a bottle of wine from my special stash under the stairs for a dinner party at home. This space is dark, cool and unheated and lightly ventilated. Dust gathers here, but the wines are sealed, reasonably cool and not too dry. A little dust doesn’t bother them, or me. It isn’t perfect, but it is OK.

I don’t keep very much wine here, I can’t afford it, but there are a few bottles here with their own, individual and particular stories. I’ll be honest, getting something from here is a rare occurrence, and when I do, there’s a bit of vanity involved.

The bottle was dusty along one side, but the label was still clearly visible. I left it upright to rest and for the sediment to settle, but didn’t wipe it of these new trappings. Why?

I hoped that presenting this bottle, ‘raw’, unwashed and unsanitized, before the dinner conveyed some unspoken messages:

  1. This is special. I’ve kept it long enough for this to happen and you probably can’t easily get *this* anywhere else.
  2. I planned ahead. Way ahead. This is no last-minute, careless purchase.
  3. I’ve chosen this moment, in your presence, to enjoy this. I could have already enjoyed it, or I could have kept it longer, but the time to open it is now.
  4. I’m taking a bit of a risk. For fun. I trust you enough to understand this.

Isn’t it amazing what you can say with a little dust? Keep a few bottles back, you never know when you might need to mark an event, or make some moment just that little bit more special.

It is a shame the desk and bookshelves aren’t nearly as eloquent as a wine bottle in this regard.