Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Dishes

It was a little more than an hour's work, to clean the kitchen: wash all the dishes, pots, and pans, wipe down the counters, even scrub out the sink with the Bar Keeper's Friend. I could feel Martha's worried eye on me from time to time: she hates it when people get heroic. She fears that when the fit passes, the backlash will be all the worse: or that horse and rider will come down, trying a hedge too high, and she'll be left to put the pistol to the horse's head.

A sensible fear, living with me, but she was mistaken. Sober joy: joy at having survived, joy at being back in a world in which effort has effects, in which facts are true or false, in which light spills over the edge of the world in the morning, and drains away at night, in which there is fresh air and unbeholden creatures roaming at their own sweet will. Oh, it's not fair, it's not fair, but I associate that house with everything suffocating and artificial, and with every mean thing in my soul that answers to them: the craving for endless repetitions, desires and gratifications piling so thick and nauseating together that they lose the name of pleasure and just become the sea, the endless thirsty sea. 

So I now at home I work, I clean and scrub, I dry rack after rack of dishes. I grow tired: but it's not the bone-tiredness of spending all day avoiding the plain tasks before my face. It's just the ordinary tiredness of cleaning a well-used kitchen. And it makes me feel as though there was still a glance from the goddess of hope falling on my shoulder. Every once in a while, a glance. I don't ask for more than that: I don't ask for that much. But I'm grateful. I will sleep tonight.

7 comments:

Rouchswalwe said...

Ja. Sober joy and hopeful glances. I hear you! I'll be dancing with the Bar Keeper's Friend today as I prepare the kitchen for brew-day tomorrow. A huge pot of Oolong Tea and some leftovers for lunch. This morning is icy, but the sun has just risen over the tops of the trees as I write to you, and so I think a morning walk is in order before I become a brewster.

ntexas99 said...

"a hedge too high"

ah, the aspirations of the willing, performed by the incapable, and witnessed by the skeptical

marly youmans said...

There was something of the heroic simile about that post! Enjoyed.

When I googled your name recently, a row of jolly little Dale-faces came up, along with a single picture of naked Barbie dolls! I suppose that is because you are now famous for having people undress for you... But I found it amusing.

rbarenblat said...

Love to you.

Zhoen said...

Good to offer healing to those we love, whom we hurt so long, not meaning to. They didn't mind, not really, hurt nonetheless. We owe it to them, to find our balance, and patiently demonstrate that we know better now.

Sad to see the wariness, glad to see it slowly fade.

Kristen Burkholder said...

Currently experiencing the bone-tiredness of avoiding tasks directly in front of me, but reading your blog was one of the tasks I assigned myself today and so i feel I've accomplished *something*. also, I feel befriended, as per usual. thank you Dale.

Nimble said...

Simple work is a blessing. Sometimes that's why I like to watch sports. It's so simple, unlike the rest of existence.