I feel like my default is set to sad and critical. There’s an undercurrent of sadness that is like the tide. When it’s out, there’s some happy times on the beach, but when the waves roll in, there’s a riptide that’s ready to drag me under in a heartbeat. No time to breathe, it sucks me down and there’s nothing to do but wait. Unlike a swimmer, I don’t feel like fighting. I’ve given up on that. I just sort of wait it out, sadness dripping from my eyes and threatening to engulf me.
I was remembering when I was a little girl, and I would hear the bees humming outside my bedroom window in the summer, awakening me with their busy search for pollen-y goodness. The sunlight would filter through the maple leaves outside my north window and the beech leaves to the east, beckoning me to enjoy the bounty of nature outside. After a bowl of sugared Rice Krispies (yeah, we sugared them…weird to think of that now), I was outside, feet in the grass, sun on my skin.
I wish I could recapture those carefree days. Everything just grinds now. We have no real yard, no place safe to go shoeless. The alley is littered with a thousand minute shards of crushed liquor bottles, the detritus of the casting off of inner city inhibitions. “If you can’t feel happy in your situation,” they crunch underfoot in a gritty whisper, “we can help.” I don’t listen to that. Like most temptations, it’s an expensive habit, and I’d rather read.
The sky is cloudless and pure blue. After the recent weeks of rain (days, at least, but it’s seemed like it’s been raining forever), it’s a welcome change, but I’m inside cleaning. Like making hay, I have to clean while the sun shines. When it’s gloomy, nothing happens. This isn’t a day for slogging around and feeling sorry for being alive. The sun is a dose of happiness, my spoonful of sugar, that makes the medicine of housework go down a little more smoothly.
So, I’m off to the races.
I’ll sing today, because sunny weather needs to be accompanied by singing. Today’s ditty is an old song I’m memorizing the words to, because it’s catchy and appropriately, about laundry. It’s called “Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron,” and I first heard it on WRCJ in Ann Arbor, during a drive. It caught my attention as so very tuneful that even though there were no words in that particular version, I knew there must be (there are, with melody notes here, and some excellent explanatory notes here), and immediately Shazamed it, in the hopes that it might register. Hooray!
If you listen to the version in the video immediately below, you can see how easy it was to believe there surely must be words.
“Dashing Away” from Suite for Strings by John Rutter
And look! Here is the most charming video! As listed in the credits, this is
An out-take from “Singing Games for Children.” Filmed at Cogges Farm Museum (Witney, UK) by VideoVox in 1987. Music by Simon Nicol and Maartin Allcock.
Having done ironing with sad irons like this, I can guarantee you it’s not nearly as fun as they make it out to be, and our washerwoman is far lovelier than the norm, but it’s all good.
“Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron”
Time’s a wasting, so I’ll strike while the iron is hot.