For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Song of Solomon 2:11-13 KJV
I must admit my ponderings this week were not inspired by Scripture but by the talented pen of Alexandra Stoddard. Although my thoughts did drift from time to time to the above Scripture... how could it not? The rains are not over but the early flowers, the singing birds, and the buds of the trees have all appeared.
Alexandra inspires us to make the rituals of our daily life as pleasant and beautiful as possible. How delightful it has been to do dishes while looking at yellow and white daffodils this week, the window open for the first time on those days it was warm enough to enjoy the breeze. I feel the life returning to my soul in much the same way the earth is renewing in Solomon's poetry.
Like many women, the kitchen sink in my home is its' own kind of altar. There I enjoy the hot sudsy water while washing dishes in cold weather, rinse vegetables from the garden in summer, and return often for life giving water throughout the day.
In this everyday place of rituals, it could become easy to feel bogged down with the constant work of keeping a family fed as the never ceasing cooking, baking, washing dishes, chopping veggies, washing dishes, making coffee, washing dishes... well, I think you get the idea. I've often told Stephanie that I think my dishes reproduce on their own in the sink. :)
Inspired long ago by Stoddard's books, the kitchen is a haven of the stuff of my life... intentionally surrounding myself with the sights, sounds, and aromas I love. The hot water and suds in the never ending cycle of dish washing provide aromatherapy when breathing in the scent of Seventh Generation Lavender Floral & Mint... not poured from the original squeeze bottle but from a beautiful glass carafe originally meant for olive oil.
Cooking requires a constant washing of the hands, all made lovely by the rotating aromas of Method hand washing soap... right now enjoying the aroma of sea minerals with the equally beautiful french blue color of the liquid soap
The kitchen received its' first deep spring cleaning in years yesterday with hubby performing the scrubbing of the floor and the pulling out of the refrigerator and other kitchen objects to make cleaning the floor easier. As he scrubbed the floor, I washed the other items, the window, the shelves, dusted off canisters, and soaked nicky knacks in soapy water. He even scrubbed the top of the refrigerator which I didn't realize was so scummy... he being the tallest in the family and the only one who can see the top of the refrigerator! Everything is clean and fresh...
Alexandra writes about Grace Notes... those little things we can do to surround ourselves with Beauty. I'm not the kind of person who enjoys streamlined kitchen counters. I like to see my stuff. Three crocks hold often used kitchen utensils, two of the crocks were rescued from my in-laws garden shed years ago.
The oils, matching salt shaker & pepper grinder, and my two most often used Mrs. Dash seasonings all have a home in an antique wooden drawer sitting between two crocks and near the stove. Of course, Precious (my big red Kitchen Aid stand mixer) and the cute red Kreuger coffee maker are nearby as I slice and chop on my favorite cutting board... purchased long, long ago and moved an amazing number of times.
Dishes are dried in the red dish drainer, always on the counter and ready to accept pretty vintage china as well as the often used red and green plastic plates. The old yellow utility cart holds my Crock Pot as well as the thrifted stock pot and old granite ware colanders snuggle next to my white Goodwill electric juicer. The red wire basket holding my most-used cookbooks now sits on the old sewing machine table next to the vintage yellow pantry.
A delightful combination of old and new... red and yellow and deep blue... all coming together to provide the background of the necessary rituals of daily life in the heart of the home. So thankful for writers who remind us of Beauty in our everyday rituals such as Alexandra.
Absolutely giving praise and thanks to God that the time of the singing birds has returned again as it has for thousands of years... perhaps appreciated even more so after a long and snowy winter.