It’s endless,” I said to Fred. “Every time I finish cleaning one thing, I see something else that’s dirty.”
I wanted our home to be neat and tidy for our friends who would be staying there for a week while we camp in the Rockies. I know what it’s like to stay in an Airbnb, and our place looked nothing like that. So the cleaning extravaganza began.
We got to work in over 30-degree heat, repositioning the fans as we went. We swept under beds and reorganized overflowing boxes. We wiped down the fridge and stove and cleaned the cupboards inside and out. We replaced threadbare sheets and old washcloths, swept down spider webs, and cleaned windows and mirrors and grimy fingerprints everywhere.
We planned to spend the long weekend with my parents, but they weren’t up to hosting us in the heat. All the campsites were already reserved, so we didn’t leave until Monday. The extra time was just what we needed to do all the spring cleaning that had missed a few springs.
By the time we left, it still wasn’t finished. But it was good enough. Our friends reassured us they were used to the lived-in look. I was glad to receive an email from them the day after they arrived thanking us for our generosity and saying they’d slept well.
I’m writing this post in Yoho National Park while sitting in the car waiting for the rain to stop. I’m not complaining. Yesterday we hiked the Iceline trail with spectacular views of Takakkaw Falls and the Emerald Glacier. I have to say this is way more fun than cleaning.
While we hiked, I thought about that overwhelming feeling I had when the cleaning felt endless and wondered what God was up to. I remembered something someone said recently. She was considering the contemplative value of being present with “what is” and not liking what she saw one little bit. I could relate to that. I liked life better when I didn’t see the dirt and hoped no one else saw it either.
We hadn’t noticed how much dust had collected because our focus was on “more important” things like work, rest, and play. But now I noticed it, and once I noticed it, I also noticed that I enjoy things being clean.
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On Tuesday and Thursday evenings in the summer, semi-retired author Michelle and other historians from the Friends of Yoho lead guided walking tours of Field, BC by donation. The RCMP office, which was decommissioned in the ’90s, is now a guest house. The community hall used to be the Legion. In the ’70s some boisterous dances were held there and two sweet but formidable women in Royal Canadian Legion uniforms were the bouncers. The local coyote often makes an appearance. Michelle carries bear spray because a bear has been known to join the tour.