Rediscovering The Many Hidden Pleasures of Ancient Laundromats | Raw Spirit Community News

By Happy Oasis, Raw Spirit Community News

How we wash our clothes intimately reflects the quality of our relationship with nature, joy and life. My Beloved, Johnny Light, and I are traveling indefinitely in our cozymost, humble, little eco-rv, fondly called our "Creational Vehicle". Arriving at a new town today, the appeal of going to a laundromat feels less than tantalizing.

For 20 joyous years I lived out of a backpack, two-booting it around the planet, gladly washing my two changes of clothing by hand in mountaintop stream springs near forest fire lookout towers, in East Indian riverfront ashrams' community baths, Buddhist Thai and Burmese jungle temples' pools, beneath Malaysian island waterfalls, between venerable trees at Mexican mortar and pestle outdoor 'laundromats', occasionally doing the twist with a foot in each bucket, sometimes resorting to the loveliest and laziest of all: swimming in my dresses.

Just between us, I'd like to share this private conversation with my beloved.

"Happy, Did you say, 'Wash our clothes in the river?' Why would we do that?, he winced. "Nobody washes their clothing by hand!"

"All of humanity has been washing its clothes by hand," I reminded him, "for several millennia, except a recent abberation where in a few dozen countries washing machines have gained popularity for the last 60 years ~ a mere drop in the bucket of humanity's timeline."

"At the laundromat it takes only an hour and a half," he reasoned.

"If we do it together," I smilingly persisted, "it will take us only about 20 vigorous minutes of dunking, scrubbing, splash-slapping and squeeze-wringing". "Then," I explained, "we simply spread the clothes out on the largest, darkest, hottest boulders. After a half hour we flip the clothing. After an hour in the tepid weather, our clothing will be as if starch-dried, stiff as a board, and crisp as raw crackers!"

"What about the ecology?", he wondered aloud, not convinced.

"Exactly. Imagine this. No industrial machines. No electricity. No grumbling, rumbling noises. No detergent. No whizzing traffic. No dreary ambiance. No coins. $10 saved and better spent elsewhere on green drinks and smoothies."

"I mean, what about getting soap in the river?"

"We use no soap at all," I said. "Yet, the aroma of clean river-washed, sun-dried clothing exudes the freshest scent imaginable!"

"With our clothing strewn across the boulders, people will think we're from the Backwaters of Goodness-Knows-Where."

"We will be in the backwaters. People will think we're living in a state of joyful wild abandon."

"We are!", he exclaimed. "Every day!"

"And night", I added.

"What kind of wild adventure are you taking me on next?"

"What you will find most precious of all, Treasured Beloved, is how we enjoy our time while "waiting" for the sunshine to do the work. At Nature's River Laundromat, we are free to dip our feet into the river, listen to the giggling currents, gaze at the water shimmer-glistening..."

"...We are free to swim, splash and stretch; to sunbathe alongside our clothes; pick fat blackberries, suck on wild grapes, and feast on succulent figs, maybe even hike to some hidden valley with a guitar and songs in our hearts… we could possibly even make beautiful love in a secret spot beneath the trees."

"All this while waiting for our laundry to dry?," he smiled.

"Yes! Or we could just go to a laundromat if you find that more inspiring." ~ Happy

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