I started laughing when my son told me that my brother, who is a sports gadget and gear junkie, says in Seattle people have Barbour waxing parties. Now I wear a Barbour, even in depths of a Massachusetts winter, and I have indeed waxed it. But to organize a group activity?

My first thought was, ‘some people have way too much time on their hands!’ But on reflection, I’m starting to think that, silly as it sounds, maybe this is something we should all do more of. Not just get together to do chores (you can’t really wax together, after all, like you can build a barn together), but to learn how to do the domestic tasks that lend grace to our lives. And, in the case of a Barbour, make things last much, much longer – and that’s good for the environment, too.

Issues of environment and community are inextricably linked, so anything you do to build community is likely to improve the quality of life and decrease environmental impact. Why not think of something you’d like to learn to do, and find someone to practice with? I, for example, have a yen to teach everyone to bake bread, and I wish I knew how to make a picture frame out of scrap wood.

And next time you throw a waxing party, let me know!

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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