I rose early to see the comet but was a little too late, or the trees were in the way. The morning was alive with twittering though and the moon was still awake.
In an Alan Watts lecture, he talks about how we sometimes treat as serious those things that aren’t serious at all, like doing the dishes. He says, “The whole point of washing the dishes is playful. You don’t wash the dishes for a serious reason. You like the table to look nice. You don’t want to serve up the dishes with dinner with all the leavings of breakfast still lying on them. So why do you want the table to look nice? Well, again, it’s the nice, you see. You like the pattern on it that way.”
He continues that we can become compulsive about these things.
I think of how yes, I like things to look nice, to have an order that’s pleasing to me, and also, especially these days, how it’s also about cleanliness. Have we ever been more aware of germs and contagion? Maybe the fears of the virus are making it clear how connected we are.
The day is exquisitely beautiful. I listen to the birds sing even though mates have been attracted and babies are born. Is it simply joy, the joy of washing dishes and putting them away, marking time with the rhythm of relationship and routine?
Today I’m reminded of Lynn Ungar’s wonderful poem “Pandemic”. That leads me to this poem of hers, “Camas Lilies”.
I sink into these lines:
Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
Are we ever finished with blooming? A friend says a hummingbird comes to her face when she sits outside on her deck. She’s a lovely soul, and I’m sure the hummingbird senses nectar, and fills on what blooms there.