12.18.2013

by hand


  
For several years I worked in a hospital lab, and for a time I assisted the pathologists with paperwork, logging specimens, and the occasional autopsy.  (I loved this job.)  One of the doctors, when he would come into the dissection room where my desk was, would always stand and run hot water to warm his hands for several minutes before cutting.  He was always silent and still during this time, and I came to realize it was a quiet, introspective time for him.

I was reminded of this the other day when I was standing in my kitchen, listening to water fill the sink and watching soap bubbles grow.  There is something so soothing and zen about doing the dishes by hand that I love, that I have always loved.  Truth be told, I'd much rather be on the clean-up side of dinner than the prep side, and even though we have a dishwasher, I'll take the relaxing task of washing the dishes by hand any day.

Each evening I stand at my kitchen sink and savor this, one of my favorite times of the day.  I lay out a fresh dishtowel, squeeze some lavender-scented dish soap under the tap, and turn on some Billie Holiday.  I check in with our spider.  (A spider that has built a giant web over one entire side of the window above the sink.  A spider that, despite my near-unreasonable fear of spiders, has lived peacefully in its chosen spot for the past four months.)   I dip my hands into the warm soapy water with dish after dish, each plate (each slate) wiped clean.  When I'm through, I watch the water slowly swirl down the drain with the end of another day.  

It might seem like a mundane thing to wax poetic about, but it is a meditative time that quiets my mind and slows me down each day that I love.  What simple task do you look forward to every day?

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