Hot Steam on Cotton

Photo by EVG photos on Pexels.com

This is not another post on how to cope with pandemic anxiety or how to best manage your time in social isolation. I have nothing new to say about that, and frankly, the online “noise” is getting to me. So I’ll keep this short.

Away from my normal life, I find myself looking at homemaking in a different way. No longer just troublesome chores, I embrace their quiet safety. I push the vacuum through sunlight and shadows in the corner where stripes of light pass through the blinds and slant over the rocking chair. I feel the goodness of simple work.

Ironing, the smell of steam on cotton takes me to my mother’s muslin-covered ironing board and the sprinkler bottle she kept nearby. The whir of my sewing machine comforts me.

One long ago afternoon, I passed a little shop on the side of a hill. The door was open to the spring air and half a dozen women sat before small black machines, turning the wheel with one hand, guiding fabric with the other. The hum of small motors made me stop and look. I feel at one with them now, doing what I know how to do, what my mother did, and her mother too.

A line from a Mary Oliver poem is on my fridge: “why should I not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside, looking into the shining world?” She goes on to say that delight inspires action. We are not to sit on the hillside all day. But for now, in this holy moment, let me pause. Let me look.

Have you found, while at home, a small moment of delight? Does it remind you of someone or some other time? Share it below and I’ll put your name in the drawing for Michael Ondaatje’s novel, Warlight, a book set in 1945 England with some very mysterious characters.

The winner of last month’s drawing is Jeanne Guy. She wins a copy of This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. Congratulations, Jeanne, and thanks for your comment!

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