I don't own a dishwasher. I don't think I want to at this point in my life. I've never had a dishwasher because my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp. Off and on, over the years, I have wanted a dishwasher. But now I see the almighty had different plans for me, and that's ok.
You see, washing dishes is therapy for me. It is a mindless task, I don't have to really concentrate on what I am doing, so my mind wanders. To problems I am facing in my life, or to something funny that has happened, or just nothing. Sometimes thinking about nothing is good, if you can actually do it.
This morning I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep, as often happens at my age. I am not a do dishes at the end of a workday type gal, and Steve does the cooking, so I clean up. On my terms. Which usually means dishes at 5AM. That may sound heathen to some of you, but it is a routine that has worked well for me.
While I was washing dishes this morning, I looked at what surrounded me there at the sink. I didn't do it consciously, but I had surrounded myself with some of the things that have the most meaning for me.
I looked at the small apple salt and pepper shakers that belonged to my Grammy. I saw the wine glasses that Steve and I have collected on our weekend winery excursions. There beside the glasses sat a cup with the corks from some of my favorite wines. Hanging in the window was the prism with a small polar bear given to me by my friend Pat in Alaska for my birthday.
And hanging off the sides of the cabinets was the cutting board my sister Dooj sent me when she lived in Hawaii, and the wooden salad tongs shaped like bear claws that Steve and I got in Anchorage.
All these things held memories for me. Years of memories, held inside and occasionally brought to mind to relive with happy thoughts.
And as I washed my dishes for the thousandth time, I thought about Grammy and Grandma. Two totally different woman, two different kitchens. Grammy's kitchen was quiet, and my clearest memories are of sitting at the little dinette table to the side of her kitchen and watching her wash dishes, and whistle to herself as she did. After a lifetime of dish washing, the water was so scalding hot I couldn't touch it, but she would put her hands right in, and her dishes were always squeaky clean. (Read more about my grams here.)
Then there was Grandma. Her kitchen was the center of activity in the house, because the door opened right into the kitchen. There were always adults sitting at the table, and Grandpa owned one chair in particular, and by that I mean NO one sat in Grandpa's chair. No one did dishes in Grandma's kitchen either. She said it was because her kitchen was too small, but I believe it was because she wanted her dishes washed a certain way, and preferred doing it herself. She always put the dishes to soak in the sink after a meal, and usually wore a net on her hair, and never let anyone wash their hair in her kitchen sink. My sister Dooj tried one time when we were teenagers, and barely survived.
So that was what was on my mind this morning as I washed the dishes. The cycle of life in the kitchen. Family. Love. And that is how I meditate. My thoughts take me to a better place, and prepare me for what the day will bring. It is my therapy.