Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Washing Dishes.

Last night, as I stood at a sink full of dirty dishes and hot water, I realized how much I love washing up. It's a strange thing to love to do really. Scrubbing at plates, glasses, pots and pans, all with little bits of dinner still attached to them. Maybe it's the challenge of removing the remains of the meal. Or maybe it is something else entirely.
For me it's the rythmn that develops. Dip, swish, wipe, rinse, over and over again. Hot water flowing over my hands, relieving aches I did not realize were there. Frothy bubbles encapsulating them, making them tingle as the bubbles pop.
I much prefer hand-washing to using my dish washer. Although, when it's a lot of dishes, I succumb and let the machine to the job for me. No sense taking valuable time away from family and friends. But on a normal night I am at the sink, towel thrown over my shoulder and up to my elbows in suds.
Above my sink is a window that looks out over the back garden. I have an arbor made from bed springs out there with bird feeders hanging from it. On the wall that faces out towards the garden are five birdhouses that have been the home to a multitude of little avain families over the years. I can stand at the window and wash dishes and see the birds all at the same time.
This summer I have been blessed with two little hummingbirds, who happen to choose the hours around dinner time to visit the feeder I have prepared for them. They flit in and out, settle momentarily on the springs for a short rest and fly away again.
Tufed titmice, chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, finches, mourning doves and wrens make their way to the feeder full of sunflower seeds, to enjoy their evening repast. Occasionally they will stop and set on the kitchen windowsill, only to fly away as I lift a dish to rinse and place in the strainer.
We have a nice relationship, the birds and I. I keep their feeders full and they provide me with endless hours of entertainment and joy. No wonder the kitchen sink is my favorite spot in the house.
When I am finished, I find myself in a state of relaxation usually unknown to me. I am refreshed and nourished - body, mind and soul. What started as a simple chore, cleaning up after nourishing my family, has become a time for me to reflect and ponder. Hot water, soap suds and observation has become my recipe for destressing at the end of a hectic day.
Who would have thought that something so pedestrian could be so powerful?


Beverly said...

Beautifully put! I love your new blog.

Nan said...

Your beautiful post reminded me of something I just read in The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny Brewer, and I thought you'd like to read it. A man speaks of his late wife:
"She said it was a spiritually uplifting task to clean the plates and bowls and cups from which her family took sustenance, almost as fulfilling, she had said, as preparing the meals themselves. And she loved the view out the window above the sink, the birds and rabbits and flowers, and trees bending in the wind."