Hands to Work

One thing I love about doing the laundry is how very Bohemian our apartment feels when I come home on a day like today: windows open to the bright warmth, clothes strung on twine across the living room and bedroom. We hang our clothes to dry to save the extra $1.50 per load in the dryer downstairs. As it is, we pay $1.75 per load in the washer. I’ve always imagined that living frugally has its romantic moments, and I think this is one of them.

I also enjoy cooking soybeans and trimming Zach’s hair. It’s these simple tasks that make me feel connected, if even just slightly, to the generations that have come before me, before the great multitude of electronic and prepackaged wonders that complicate modern life. We don’t use our hands anymore.

It seems to me that one of the saddest things in American life is the need for gym memberships. There is no work in our daily lives anymore, and however much we enjoy laziness, we are missing out on the satisfaction of completing a task using our own bodies: no dirt on the soles of our feet, no sweat on our biceps, no grooves or calluses. Just carpal tunnel and paper cuts. I long deep within me for earth, because I am earth, deep within. Earth and Breath.

There is a connection between soul and earth. The physical was never meant to be so extracted from the mental and spiritual: we are each one whole being, the spirit connected to the physical like sinew is connected to bone. We need to live in our bodies, and see that we are natural, we are dirty, we are made to move in our work, to get messy in our living. The physical beauty of the world should move our spirits, because God is in it all, runs through it all. We miss the common thread because we don’t listen between the lines, to the song that all the earth sings in the quiet spaces, between the thoughts.

I am reminded of my favorite lullaby, of Native American chant origins, I believe:

The River, she is flowing,
growing and flowing,
The River she is flowing
down to the Sea.

Mother, will you carry me?
A child I will always be.
Mother, will you carry me?
Carry me down to the sea.

3 Replies to “Hands to Work”

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