Early in the morning, just after sun-up. The kids are all sleeping and I step outside on the back porch. We've been living on the pastor's ranch for about a year I guess. I look out over the fields of green beans and pick up the hose to fill the tub. In front of me are two generations of laundry cleaning. The CC Mira Mesa brought us a brand new front-loading machine a couple of months ago. Next to it stands an old wringer washer, the kind my mother told me about when I was young. I love that machine.
As the tub fills, I sort the whites out first to wash. I pour in liquid detergent and bleach and start agitating. Dirtiest of whites is slapped wet on the concrete scrub-board for extra detail. Socks are the most scrubbed both with a brush and a rolling motion up and down the board. I have to be careful not to scrape my knuckles raw. Then back into the tub they go to finish with the other whites.
The process of pulling the clothes out and through the wringer is peaceful tedium for me. I push and pull the clothing through and drop it into a deep sink full of clear clean water, then step to the side to push the wringer over to the sink. I pull and rinse the clothes before wringing them again to be dropped into a basket for hanging.
There is something so calming about standing there in my bare feet to hang the clothes on the line. There are no people noises yet, just the birds chittering in the few trees, a horse nickering under the olive tree and the few dogs run, noses down searching for the leavings of yesterday's meals. My face is once again turned to the fields as I hang. I can see the fig tree down the way and off in the distance is the pastor's greenhouse.
It is good clean work. I feel satisfied as I finish the first load of the day. The towels are already agitating in the washer. It is the moment of peace I have searched for before the children rise and workers arrive. I have no decisions to make at this moment, no boo-boos to tend, no tears to wipe.
My time. My place. God's peace.