* I don't sing "Sweet Nightingale" while I wash my dishes. Housework is drudgery much of the time. But in occasional moments of introspection, I think about the meaning behind these many tasks I devote so much of my time to. And they become more beautiful.
Sometimes my life feels like an exercise in futility. And repetition. Laundry doesn’t stay folded. Dishes don’t stay done. Drawers don’t stay organized. The fridge doesn’t stay full. And dinner time comes every. single. night.
No one’s a stranger to that story.
But there are secrets in the daily continuance, treasures for the seekers. They sparkle in an alternate mindset.
And ritual is born of tedium...
Soothe. The warmth and sniff and soft of clean laundry.
Satisfaction. The gift of nourishment in a snack-time bowl of rinsed and stemmed berries.
Connection. And trust in a nightly ritual of touch.
A little body dried out by the constant hum of the furnace and the dehumidified winter air.
It’s almost bedtime, his crooked smile meets mine in the space between us as my lotion-covered hands pass over the tickle spots.
Love rubbed in with the moisture; matched ounce for ounce.
I think about the healing powers of both.
Surrender. Frenzy mellows with the strokes of the hairbrush through her curls after an evening bath. The ritual of touch smooths more than tangles.
Catharsis. Kneading warm, wholesome dough.
Coaxing the bubbles out.
Working anxieties in.
They must bake out.
There is only calm in the first honeyed bite.
These could be my words:
I wish they were
B a k i n g B r e a d
Carol Lynn Pearson
There seemed more accusation
Than admiration in Vivian's voice
When she said, "Well, I wish I had time To bake bread!"
And so sometimes when
The loaves were in the oven
And Vivian was at the door
Louise mumbled something about
Another bake sale again
And never even tried to explain
Her near-religious ritual:
How the flour on her fingers
Was the sun and the rain
And the earth
How the thump of her palms
On the dough
Was the dance of women
On the ancient threshing floor
How the smell of baking
And left her believing that
We rise, we rise
How the cutting
Of the first warm slice
For the first child home
Made her a bounteous goddess
With life in her hand
I like that phrase: “near religious rituals;” they are changing me into someone more bounteous. More goddess.
Connecting me with generations of women. And with myself.
The result thick with irony, that so much wholeness comes of so much giving.