The sun casts its warmth over the green earth as the quilt danced in the warm breeze. Handmade by my husband’s great grandmother it has aged with charm and grace. Tiny squares of soft cotton, so many squares, have faded and frayed, but unlike superficial beauty, time does not diminish its quality.
It dries in the sun because of a sick child and certainly not for the first time, I’m sure. And it hangs on a brand new clothesline, as of today, because necessity is indeed the mother of invention. We still don’t have a washer and dryer in the large laundry room, off the kitchen, but like the Beatles, we get by with a little help from our friends and it hasn’t been anything more than a slight inconvenience of hauling laundry baskets from cars to houses and back again.
But, rather than letting vomit wallow and stew on blankets for later, which would be just as disgusting as it sounds, I greeted my inner-pioneer woman and set to work with a large plastic tub, soap, and water. Some soaking, swishing and rinsing later, problem solved.
Sometimes I think I would have made a good pioneer, except only ideally, because while I enjoy kneading bread and sewing clothes, I also like lattes, the internet, and air conditioning. Still, today, as my afternoon was quiet thanks to sleeping children and a hard-working husband, I found the act of hanging clothes on the line and watching them dance in the sun peaceful and mesmerizing. A great awareness of provision swept over me, reminding me though at times we may lack materially, we remain in such abundance. In the way that sun gives us energy and life and power and sustains the whole world, it also freely and effortlessly dries wet blankets and cotton shorts. No questions asked, no machinery needed. And it’s free and available to all.
I’m not anti-technology one bit, as I type this and instantly post it to be read by anyone, anywhere, but there is something calming and reassuring about doing things the old fashioned way, something gratifying and real, participating in timeless rituals. In working with the hands, clarity comes to the mind and connects us to what is before us, both visibly and unseen. And these days we’re constantly managing machines, while our heads run at frantic speeds with thoughts that aren’t given proper time to be wrung out, straightened, and arranged.
This act of hanging laundry on the line, it also speaks about control and reminds us how little we have, as we wait for the sun and depend on its presence. It’s overwhelming how much the earth tells the story of God, the one who sustains and provides, and does it all in his timing. It’s everywhere, isn’t it?
And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." Isaiah 6:3