Those of you reading this are probably seasoned enough to remember, your mom, or your grandma hanging clothes on the line to dry. The bag or basket of clothespins at her waist or hung over her shoulder, she moving side by side down the line of clothes. The rusty metal rods strung with clothesline swaying in the sun, with sheets or shirts bouncing in the breeze. While there is not much sweeter to our limbic system than the fragrance of sun dried laundry, warm and fresh in the laundry basket there is also that long lost art of reflection while you do the meditation of hanging the laundry? Clothespin by clothespin, reaching to get the seam of shoulder hanging straight or the waist of the pants up even. Clip, reach, clip reach, then dipping into the damp clothes for the next garment in line for the sun. There was no tweeting, or texting, no jarring phone ringing, except maybe in the distant kitchen hanging on the wall. In between those clothespins was plenty of time for daydreaming, for reflection, for planning, for fantasy conversations, or fantasy in general. The sun warm on your face as you look up to the line, warm on your back as you dip again into the damp clothes. And if you did this with someone else, there was time for idle chatter or more importantly a big revelation or disclosure. Something about the meditative nature of that simple repetitive action relaxed the heart.
Doing the dishes with someone held the same ripe opportunity to share, to connect. One has their hands in warm, soapy water, sloshing dishes and rinsing them, ready to hand them off to the one holding the dish towel. That recipient of the warm wet plate is methodically drying the item and talking to the washer because washing and drying dishes takes no real brain power, leaving you free to share your day.
When machines took over these tasks, it seemed wonderful , and it is certainly less time consuming to load a dishwasher, but nothing will ever replace the intimate disclosures that came during the dinner dishes, the “Hey Mom, can I tell you something”, the revelation of a long held secret, pecked free by the dish towel rounding the plate. I still love washing dishes with company, or my kids; all the laughing and clattering of the dishes and pots while we hash over the day or comparing notes on the food.
If you haven’t done it in a while, close the dishwasher for one gathering and do dishes together, or hang towels on your zip line. In both cases, be sure your phone is well away and relax into the lovely shared connection of simple chores done with people you love.