Friday, August 9, 2013

Clothesline Timeline

Ender posing by one of our first loads of line-dried laundry.

After moving into our beautiful home, we found out our dryer is a gas dryer and will therefore not work in this house. Oh! Well that is just one of those things that slipped under the radar this summer. It was funny to me in a tired way. I laughed and shrugged.

My father-in-law installed some clotheslines before flying back to Rexburg. My first time hanging laundry to dry was a little bit discouraging. It was all so time consuming, handling every item of clothing, arranging it with clothespins to the line, making room for a typical, large load. Wasn't laundry already time consuming?

I sighed a lot, and I sweated a lot (Arizona is ideal for drying clothes and wetting people). But since I figured this would be the new way of things, I decided I would do my best to like it. I purposefully looked for the love in my work, in my slow motion of touching each item of clothing. Once the clothes were hung, a quiet little smile crept up as I surveyed my work. It was pretty, a little display of a finished task. I went to bed tired but satisfied and grateful.

When morning came, I rushed outside while it was relatively cool. In the still air, in the partial shade, I sweated and smiled while I pulled the clothes off the line, one at a time, folding them and placing them in my basket. Birds sang, and somehow the work went quickly. I felt that my attitude had made a complete turn; I really did like it, I couldn't help but like it.

This morning, I shuffled outside to pull down and fold some stiff towels. The lines had slackened under the weight of the towels and lifted as I pulled them away. A weak breeze kept the worst of the heat off as my apron pockets filled up with clothespins. It all took me back in time, and looking at Scarlett, it seemed she was also a scene from a different time. She sat in the dirt by the fence, in her little white dress, chattering about the leaves she shuffled in her fingers. I imagined a mother of years ago tsk-tsking at her gently, shaking her head at the dirty white dress. Maybe she would draw a bath for Scarlett and set to work cleaning the little dress, sighing at yet more laundry to be done. Or maybe, like me, she would just smile.

Laundry now feels like a little window of time travel. The clotheslines extend their fibers down the line of time, and I connect with women who years ago worked their fingers deftly over clothespins, perhaps sighing at the size of their laundry load and perhaps smiling at the lovely linens lifting in the breeze, clean and drying.