I love to iron. No – really – I do love to iron. Ironing has seen me through fear, loss, anxiety, anticipation, expectation, sleeplessness. I’ve dampened as many clothes with tears as I have with spray starch or Mrs. Meyers Ironing Water. And then sometimes I iron just out of pure joy – just for the delight of seeing something finished, feeling that I’ve started and finished one thing – sometimes for myself – sometimes for someone I love.
Everything about it delights me – the heft of the iron that someone actually invented and manufactured. Where did that start – hot stones pressing hides maybe? When did de-wrinkling begin to matter?
I like the capacity for transition. First it’s wrinkled – then it’s flat. And it’s the same piece of cloth – the same object transformed. I like the steam – wind made manifest – how magic is that?
I like the ever-changing scene I observe out of the second-story window where my ironing board sits. Today – trees hung with flame – busy squirrels leaping from ground to tree to . . . A few dogs and their walkers bundled for the first time this year in hats and gloves as well as newly uncovered long-moth-balled coats. Cycles – cycles. At these transition times in nature I am newly reminded that change is hard and glorious and inevitable.
And the smell of ironing – the moist warmth – like walking into the dark room of a sleeping child. It is fragrant and real and peaceful and so filled with promise. And then there’s the moment when I stop ironing. Finishing for the day – a job well done (usually) and I think now for a moment of the things that don’t need ironing – shar-peis and elephant’s knees and our faces as we age.