Sunday morning and it was drizzling outside. This Fall weather was a lovely day to stay indoors to catch up on my happy domestic life. I made a list of chores and a list of supplies on hand, running the logistics in my head. Alas, as is often the case, the lists did not quite match. A walk to one of the local grocery stores (a choice between the Alaska Commercial Company or “AC Store” and Rotman’s) appeared to be in order. I chose to walk to the AC Store because it is close, is on my walking route to and from work each day, and I tend toward the familiar.
This living small on the far edge may seem an unfamiliar adventure in many ways, yet in a few ways very routine. Culture is not limited entirely to the expressive arts, language or spirituality. Culture extends into the small acts and daily tasks belonging to each of us; it permeates everything we do. Culture for example includes expectations about laundry, it’s associated rituals and comforts. For me, there is something soothing about clean whites and in my culture (having been raised on 1950’s and 1060’s American television commercials), a pile of still-warm terri bath towels with that slight eau d’bleach scent is next to…
“Oh! Thirteen dollars a gallon!”
Let me repeat that: “$13 dolllars a gallon!”
Ouch! I double checked the price, and remembering that $13 dollars was a small price to pay for Nirvana, I brought a bottle to the cashier. Only $13 for the pleasure of a hot bath with candles, a clean white towel, a clean white robe…and later, a set of crisp, clean sheets! That is the culture passed along to me by my grandmother and her grandmother and her grandmother before her… clean laundry.
Days like today are lovely and simple within in all of that complexity of daily human ritual or chore. Tonight I will slip into bed, raise my arm up to create a small cave for Gidget, and as soon as she curls close to my belly, small and warm, we will nestle into our feather bed. Cradled into piles of lavender, sea green and white slipped pillows Gidget will smile as she sleeps, her little three pounds of snore almost inaudible, yet comforting. Life is good! I am very fortunate to share this luxury with such a devoted, loyal and hedonistic beast. It is almost something I take for granted, clean laundry… this abundance of water, potable and plentiful.
There are areas on this planet where mothers die from contaminated, untreated water, and where the hard bare ground might be all for their children’s beds. For those of you who can effect change, please do. And for everyone else, whatever your circumstances, where ever you may be, whatever your pleasures or hardships in cleaning or maintaining life, may your need for clean water and abundance of it always match up. In your dreams, if not in reality, where ever and however you rest your head, may you and your children, from time to time sleep in a clean, soft feather bed.
Jennifer and The Arctic Chihuahua