After revealing that I want to be sucked in by beauty and mesmerized by glitter, I decided to wash the windows. I wondered what I was avoiding creatively. Which piece called to me? There were several but I just wanted to wash the windows, only six of them on a rare, warm for November in Nashville day.
I got out the requisite tools then realized if Martha was doing this she'd be wearing a bright color, not to mention holding a drink while music played. My sweatshirt was new and a sky blue color that actually worked well with my hair. I had worn it ever so briefly one day prior. I had on my good walking tights, not the holey ones. Martha would approve. Where were the photographers when I needed them? I thought piano was appropriate and uplifting, but when I put in the cd, I found Robert Cray already in the player. How could I not enjoy some funky blues played by none other than one of Bob's namesakes? (If you don't know who Bob is, read the Oct. 10 Musing.)
As for the drink, window washing on a sunny afternoon called for red wine in my mind. It could only be called for in my mind, since my liquor cabinet, contrary to Martha's, only held a bit of white. Although atop the counter (our liquor cabinet) there did sit one lonely bottle, a red that was a gift to Jerry. But I couldn't. So I opted for hot tea in a bright red cup that popped.
I found myself moving right along all the while thinking this is how Martha does it and if she doesn't this is how it's suppose to be done. I was actually enjoying a task that I now relegate to once a year when it use to be twice. Dirty windows were the one reason I liked cloudy days. The coating of dirt and rain streaks don't show on cloudy days.
Washing the windows, with hot tea nearby and music playing felt very French even without the red wine. I was engaged in more than just cleaning the window, I was having an experience which was beautiful. Ah, this was what made it feel French. Although I've no concrete evidence to back this up when it comes to window washing, I was reminded of how this summer in France I had the sense that the French bring beauty to whatever they do. I saw it in the brightly colored shutters on the windows of old buildings, in the neat array of food at the open air market, in the presentation of food and even in the dear bar of lavender soap given to us by a friend's mother as we parted - which I'm still using. (Yes those are French, not Nashville windows, above.)
I guess I do have some concrete evidence, yet the beauty to which I'm referring was actually on a deeper level, than even the way food was presented or shutters painted. Beauty was a thing of the heart and not just the stomach. It was and is ineffable. I felt it as I cried through much of the trip moved by what I sensed. And although I still can't pronounce it, I felt what was meant by joie de vivre, the joy in living.
I was cleaning right along when my engagement with joy was temporarily halted. I ran out of window cleaner. This would never happen at Martha's. I searched every cabinet where I might have tucked an extra can to find none. I resorted to environmentally correct vinegar and water, but had a temperamental spray bottle. I cleaned on with the moody sprayer and realized how moody I become when things don't go my way, the simplest of things just like what I was experiencing. How embarrassing to admit.
I imagined if in France, I would continue on happily cleaning, without a care as to whether the sprayer worked or not. (If truly in France, I would have of course gone out to buy red wine then sat with wine and enjoyed looking at the windows maybe while enjoying the sunshine.)
Remembering France returned to me my joy and also allowed me to realize I had felt the same level of joy to which I'm referring, no offense to the French, while in Russia and a South African homeland in my twenties. Without any of the material trappings to which we're accustomed, the people exuded joy. They were people of such beauty because their spirits were beauty-filled.
I washed windows and wondered if this depth of joy is birthed partially because of what the souls in these lands have lived through. I thought of all that the soil and soul had born witness to in these places leaving the people with their spirits and hearts often broken, yet able to share life, the bare bones of life with one another and some way through this find sustenance and joy.
What I've been through does not compare with what so many others have traversed, but I do know that when I've been in the dark nights of my own journey, when I thought some mornings I could not put my feet on the floor and get out of bed, that there came a moment when I saw the sky or heard a bird sing as if for the first time. The last time this happened I was walking down the street and looked up just as the sun set shifting colors behind the clouds. I distinctly remember smiling inside and thinking, 'I just felt happy to be alive.'
I washed windows and pondered all the soil has felt and absorbed in these lands afar and inside, the literal land and the land of the heart, all that has been healed and transformed thanks to the beauty of nature and of love.
Now days later, I realize although I will post this story sending its vibes out into the ethers, its essence will continue to turn within me. Thanks to a simple task like washing windows, I'm cleaning a window into my soul and the soil of those to whose spirits I feel so kin. This is a shift I run to and yes, want to be sucked into, the shift of seeing the magic in the mundane. For nothing is mundane when we've eyes to see and ears to hear the interconnected levels available all the time. Imagine that shift!
-Dawn!, The Good News Muse