zen and the art of
ordinary maintenance

I went running yesterday. It’s been a while, my allergies are really kicking my breathing butt these days, so I’ve been laying low in
that department.

But it was great to be out there, the leaves are finally visible, blossoms on the pear trees, apple trees, magnolia. The spring that I’ve been hearing about, from all of you out there in slightly warmer climes, is finally showing its lovely, pretty face.

I started thinking about how this happens to me every year, in early spring I can barely run at all, three miles is a struggle, but by August I will be back up to eight. And then I started thinking about the seasons, the cycles my life runs through…the cycles my run lives through.

And then, because I was trying to distract myself from the fact that
I couldn’t breathe, I thought about it a little more… and somehow
it became about laundry.

The way sometimes we are spinning, out of control, can’t stop, can’t get off, can’t see any of the details, just the frenzy.

The way sometimes we are agitated, back and forth, back and forth, not really going anywhere, just swishing around in the same old dirty days.

The way sometimes we let the water wash over us, rinse away the soil and sediment, the dirt and detritus, the very evidence of our humanity.

The way sometimes we are forgotten and sit there growing musty and forlorn, until we pick ourselves up and iron out the wrinkles.

And the way sometimes we are clean and tidy, neat and fresh, calm and fragrant. All stacked up in nicely ordered piles.

Sometimes I am all of the above in a single day.

Sometimes I am one of the above for days on end.

Sometimes it takes months to move on to the next cycle.

But it always happens. One cycle ends. Another begins. It isn’t always the best one, but it is always the next one. And you just have to let it run its course.

Spin through the angst. Wash off the funk. Rinse out the stress.

Fold it all up into neat little packages.

And gently, carefully,

put it away.

12 Responses to “zen and the art of
ordinary maintenance”

  • the domestic fringe Says:

    You’ve made me suddenly feel like there’s a purpose to all the laundry I do. Great lesson! This was an awesome post. I fully understand the allergy/breathing thing. It’s kicking every butt in my family too. I think this is a particularly bad Spring. Hope you feel better soon. Great job on the running!

    Hey, did I read somewhere that you are in NY?

  • beth Says:

    this was beautiful to read….and so honestly true !
    right now, we’ve got a bit of the funk going on…still….but i think maybe with the most delicious smelling fabric softener to soothe the edges, we’ll move on just fine….

  • Cristina Says:

    Yes. I love it. Thank you. The cyclical part of life is never ending and unavoidable, but always cleansing in the end.

  • Kimberla Says:

    “And you just have to let it run its course.”

    Yes, the cyclical nature of our lives is inescapable. Yet, when we’re stuck in the same cyle, it feels like we’ll be stuck there for the rest of our lives, with no end in sight. Yet, things have a funny way of running its course, going through rinse, spin cycle, and coming out clean!

  • Debi Says:

    I needed to hear this today, hating the cycles while understanding that it’s just the way life is. You’ve made me feel better. And I love that image! 🙂

  • Jess Says:

    I really like this….it’s beautiful and oh-so-true.

  • Ruth Says:

    That’s right, I often say that how I feel today will pass – good or bad – in the next day’s cycle.

    Lovely, and yes, how interesting that we both posted on laundry today. 🙂

    (Your blog is lovely.)

  • Tracy Says:

    Crap. I have a load of of darks STILL sitting in the washer.


  • Graciel @ Evenstar Art Says:

    I am currently all cycles at once. Thank you for making sense of it for me.

    Definitley time to fluff, fold and put some of it away.

    p.s. have become addicted to your words.


  • georgia Says:

    wow wow wow!
    this post just blew me away!
    especially the photo!
    i have a draft written for a post that this post reminds me a lot of… about cleaning out the refrigerator and comparing it to cleaning out our lives from time to time. great thoughts here. LOVE the image to suit!

  • Michelle Says:

    And that made me smile…yes, you will get through this cycle, you will.

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