Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Favorite things

Laundry on a clothesline.

Our neighbor Dot has an awesome set of clotheslines right on the inside of her property line. This makes it very convenient to share, which she does. When I first started hanging our laundry, Dot didn't use the line much. Now she uses it at least once a week and we often talk while one or the other is putting up or taking down clothes. These impromptu chats with Dot are one of my favorite things and I will miss them dearly when we move.

I was puzzled at first by the fact that my laundry smelled like the salty ocean after drying it on the line. I realized later that the only other time in my life I have used a clothesline was when I lived on the coast of Florida in St. Augustine. Partly, this smell is just an association, but I really do think it smells like the sea! I hope the land-locked air in Idaho smells the same.

I love the slowness of hanging my laundry on the line. I normally loathe doing laundry, but if I know it's dry out and the line is free, I will roam the house in search of dirty laundry. After pulling the wet clothes out of the washing machine, I prop the basket on my hip and the back door creaks when I open it. This signals Tucker that we are going outside. I walk through the grass to the back of the yard in my bare feet.

Tucker watches from the shade of a nearby magnolia tree.

As I hang the clothes, I have to touch each article. This connects me with my things, and makes me grateful for having them. The repetitive quality of this motion is meditative and leads me towards simple thoughts. Being outside is pleasant. The sun feels good. The air is cool. When the breeze whips through the clothes, I can see the invisible wind in relief.

I feel a great sense of accomplishment looking across the yard upon laundry swaying on the line. I have saved money, conserved energy, snuck a brief excursion outside, slowed down, and connected with a past when hanging clothes to dry wasn't optional.


Anonymous said...

Hey, I know that smell. Call me Kim-Kate. Love you,Mar

Anonymous said...

Hey Kate,

I just spent about 2 hours looking through your Blog. I'm embarrassed to let you know this is the first time I've really looked at it in detail. Perhaps I was just missing both of you and having some withdraws from your latest visit. Anyway, I was drawn to this entry...first by the opening picture. When I read your description of hanging laundry, I was touched! Often times we forget to reflect on the simple things in life that bring us joy. Thanks for sharing! Deb