thoughts on the line

During the final walk-through of buying our house from Gerd and Elwood, Gerd handed me her old bag of clothes pins. Much more than a simple gesture, she looked in my eyes with a knowing I understood and needed what she was really giving me.

I love how sheets smell when they have been hung on the line outside to dry. Fresh. Crisp. Extra clean from the wind blowing away bad dreams and nights of restless sleep that would have been trapped inside the dryer. The bed feels amazing the first night you climb in with line dried sheets.

The clothes line is on the side yard of our house and is part of an area I claimed as mine immediately. Everything about that side is just a little off…slightly odd but to me in a good way. The curve of the paths, the untouched clusters of aloe next to the extremely large and groomed agave along with a wonderful work space/gazebo that’s just high enough off the ground to have god only knows what living under it with slats open just enough that I might get a quick glance.

(I have shed snake skin I found over there)

Hanging clothes or sheets on the line is no joke and fairly labor intensive especially when the line is not just a foot away from the washer.

See, Gerds’ old bag holds magic, not just old wooden dried out clothes pins. It’s the kind of magic that takes the breeze coming off the Superstition Mountain and blows memories and long forgotten smells, taking me to my grandmas back yard.

Flashes of family sweep through with images of a woman standing at a clothes line. You do the laundry. It’s what you do. Your back and shoulders feel it the next day. Hopefully you don’t have another round of laundry to hang up so you can give your body a break because there are plenty more chores to do inside. Dreaming, as worn fingers turn down corners of fabric held in place with a wooden pin,  one day someone would create a way to make this work easier.

Oh, the luxuries we have and take for granted today. Think fabric softener.

I am blessed. I have a washer and dryer inside my house. I don’t have to hang my clothes or my sheets outside. I do it because I dare say I enjoy it.

(Even writing that I dodged the slap upside my head from my long since passed Italian Grandma…“ENJOY it?!?!”)

Hanging the laundry on the line forces you to go outside. Going outside is never a bad thing and honestly, I don’t usually need to be forced.

Going outside means I must stop doing whatever work that, in this busy, stress filled life we all lead, I thought was more important than getting to climb into clean crisp line dried sheets at the end of the day.

It put’s everything back into perspective for me. It connects me and I feel it to my core. The wind blows and I am no longer alone at the line. I have a deeper appreciation. An awareness of all that I truly have and the women in my life who did not.

Line drying requires from me the strength to carry heavy and wet laundry in a basket. The old wooden pins test my patience as they randomly break and go flying when I’m trying to clip them on. Multitasking and timing are a must in order to get a load hung and dried before the next one is ready or before the sun goes down.

I  breathe fresh air and enjoy the sunshine all while my power bill goes down dramatically.

(Insert a very happy husband face upon seeing the low electricity bill then a worried and confused husband face wondering if I’m ok. I am to make sure I only hang clothes on the line if I want to because I already work really long hours at home.I am told I am loved and respected for all that I do.)

Grandma, we have come a long way. Thank You and Gerd for reminding me.


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