"Let us remember that the life in which we ought to be interested is 'daily life.' We can, each of us, only call the present time our own."
~Gregory of Nyssa
I've spent much of the past week spring cleaning. Because I'm impatient for the snow to be gone, I'm purging our house of anything that seems excessive and unloved in the hope that when the things have gone away, the snow will follow. The sun has been out often and each day the temperatures creep up above the freezing point, melting away a little at a time of the snow that still covers our property. I'm begining to rediscover long-buried tools in the yard as the sun and rain uncover them. Watching the snow melt away fills me with the joy and hope of springtime, and on bright afternoons, when I can open the windows and hang my rugs out in the sunlight, the joy of spring cleaning is overwhelming.
Cleaning is an act of hope, an opportunity to immerse myself in the beauty of the moment and to create a space of loveliness that can never last. It is a chance to cherish the repetition of meaningful tasks - meaningful not only because the result is beauty, but because the task itself is a time of artistic play. Even those of us who see ourselves as lacking completely any artistic sense can enjoy moments of artistic play by immersing ourselves in the act of cleaning - really seeing the beauty we make with the simple wipe of a rag. Dusting is my favorite, I am tempted by any very dusty shelf to run a damp rag over it and enjoy the contrast of bright, new wood against the remaining dust. I like to write words in the dust and erase them in one large sweep of the cloth. I love the scent of the soap I use, and the final product - bright with new life against the remaining mess of the room.