Laundry

Sorting Wash

Out of the hamper onto the floor,
the wash lies in a heap and I must sort
the dark clothes from the light,
the delicate from the ordinary
before they are washed.

Categories —
I think about how much we use them.
This is not that.
This belongs. That does not.
We cannot do without sorting,
without categories,
without definitions.
Even in this activity I know that without sorting,
the colours could bleed in the wash.
They have to be separated according to kind.

In how many countless situations
have I named, separated and judged
instead of celebrated.
In how many ways have I observed,
evaluated, sorted, and pulled away.
My preferences rule me.

Amidst this pile of wash I want to learn again
to participate and to be open to difference:
to celebrate the dark, to honour the light,
to bow to the delicate as well as the sturdy,
to appreciate texture and weight.
To be more equally
with the various and the strange.

Soon the clothes will be drenched
in water and soap.
It will be a different time,
and sorting will no longer matter
in the midst of the wash cycle.
I need to learn this in life:
when to recognise, to name, and to sort —
and when to immerse, to soak, to tumble,
and be rinsed free of opinions.
Grant that I may as much as possible
honour You in all things.

Gunilla Norris, Being Home: A Book of Meditations, New York: Bell Tower, 1991, 30-31.

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