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The absolution of water

If I was to count the hours spent at my kitchen sink it would total the lifetime of most small to medium sized animals. It would surpass the lifespan of any insect, and it would make a laughing stock of the usual life expectancy of any modern technology. In my reckoning its right up there with the time it takes to break down uranium waste and disposable nappies.

My reckoning of the lives spent at the kitchen sink, comes with a rhetorical question. Why? Apart from the obvious: washing dishes, rinsing vegetables and filling kettles, why do lives get consumed and exhausted in this domestic water ritual?

As I prepare for the ritual by donning gloves and anointing with dishwashing liquid my mind seamlessly turns to other times, other memories. I remember speaking to my mother’s back as she vigourously scrubbed some baked on grime, confessing first loves, petty misdemeanors and private longings. I also recall taking side swipes at my sister for sneaking out of the house without our parent’s knowledge while we stood at the sink. And then there were the confessions that were made to me, as I pretended to be transfixed by the very same ritual. Moments of life. Moments that were as spontaneous as they were orchestrated. Moments that required the absolution of water.

I now smile ruefully at the emerging lingua franca of the sink. Domestic goddesses abound. Yet our collective mythologies have always provided us with water deities, gods drawn from water, born in water and mastering water, or trying to. Who is god without water?

Rather than a question on the existence of god, it is a musing on the sacred act of everyday life. For if my divinity has been experienced at my kitchen sink, then it has been time well spent.


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