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    Dharma Glimpse by Chris E-S

    Looking out into our garden, it’s hard to believe that we are well into Spring. The borders are so wet that there is a natural water feature forming amongst the soggy roses and shrubs. Even the hardy daffodils seem to be struggling to survive this year. However, if it ever does stop raining, I look forward to welcoming the joy of Spring – and of socks.

    There are many reasons why the arrival of Spring brings a lightness to my heart. The longer days; the warmer weather; the emergence of shoots, bulbs and blossom; the bursts of birdsong from the trees – all these are a source of happiness and hope for me. One other lovely thing that comes with Spring – albeit on drier days than we currently have – is the opportunity to hang out washing on the line again, after having used an indoor airer over the winter months. There is nothing quite like the smell of laundry that has been dried outdoors – a fresh, airy smell that no amount of indoor drying can replicate.

    I have a routine for hanging out the washing, and I am particularly regimented when it comes to socks. All my socks are brightly coloured; I can’t abide boring socks and won’t have blue, black or grey unless they also have a bright pattern on them. I get a particular pleasure from pairing up the socks, smoothing them out and then hanging them side by side with matching pegs. Oh yes, the peg colours must complement the colours of the sock pairs: no glaring mis-matches allowed! On one occasion when I was ill, my husband did the laundry duty; whilst I was grateful for his efforts, I’m sorry to say that it pained me to see mis-paired socks and a complete lack of colour coordination of the pegs.

    My husband thinks my laundry routine is just me being a bit weird. I think there is more to it than that, although I admit to being something of an oddball in some respects. I think behind the careful matching and hanging of the socks is an underlying wish to create a sense of order in what is essentially a disordered world, and – just as important – to create beauty out of something seemingly mundane. In a world of impermanence and change, where it seems I have so little control of what happens around and to me, as I stand and admire my laundry work of art, I derive a few moments of serenity and joy from my one small act of creating order and beauty.

    As I look out at the rain-soaked garden, I imagine my brightly-coloured and patterned socks waving in a gentle Spring breeze and I can’t help but smile. We may live in a world of impermanence and dukkha, but if we look carefully we can always find calm, joy and beauty in even the smallest of things.

    Namo Amida Bu.

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