My mind clattered with the ideas of the home renovation we are planning. Our talks now centered on modernizing the kitchen, making it into a more efficient space. I couldn't quite settle on what I actually wanted. We have almost all of the latest amenities in this kitchen, except one.
We don't have an automatic dishwasher. It's all done by hand. We live in the house my grandfather built for my grandmother when they were newly married. To put a dishwasher in when we first moved would have required a major plumbing reroute and obliterated some of the hand hewn cabinets and tall counters he carpentered himself, especially to fit her height. My great grandmother (who lived with them) and my grandmother spent much time in this kitchen, flavoring it with themselves as much as they did with their foods.
This evening, a stack of dishes sat in the sink, as uncamoflauged as cellulite in string bikini, awaiting me to bathe and rinse, to burnish and dry. I'd already waved off my family's help, preferring to settle into the silence of the kitchen as a peaceful denouement to a frenetic day.
I shot a glance out the window as I quickly gathered pots from the stove and added them to the pile in the sink. The hot water cascaded from the faucet, roiling billowy suds while soothing my hands and easing warmth and fluidity back into them.
The window directly above the sink, four paned on each of the two panels, provided a perfect frame for the swelling sunset.
Like a mother bringing her children in for the night, the rapidly descending sun pulled swathes of warm light from every reach of the sky. Delicate violets chased a vibrant array of pinks and oranges, soon touching noses with each other and melding into an ethereal pallet.
The moon, unused to sharing dominion, escalated a growing luminosity in the eastern heavens. The sun, unwilling to cede control just yet, readied her final salvo.
An old barn with open windows used back in the day when hay bales were passed through them stood to the west, glorying in the waning sun like a faded starlet in the spotlights of a stage. The far western window of the barn captured the fancy of the sun, able to hold for only a moment an exquisite assemblage of the deepest purples, scarlets, and blues, streaking outwards with a last vigorous push. Then quickly and without further fanfare, the sun pulled her children to her bosom and departed for the night.
The stars peeked out from their velvety black blanket in sparkling support of the now glorious moon. The planets, constellations, and meteors joined in to regale a quieted earth with ancient beauty.
I looked over at my daughter's unlined teenaged hands that had poked back into the sink help me. Hers were the fifth generation of hands that had washed dishes at this sink, the fifth generation of eyes that had soaked in the loveliness of a sunset framed by that barn window.
I smiled. We don't need to install a dishwasher. Not at all.