Late last week, I was doing laundry and hanging it out on the clothesline located in our back yard. I have been keeping the doing of laundry to a minimum since my dryer is out of commission, but some necessities must be done. The Bean and I needed our denim washed for the market, and of course, we needed our undergarments done. Initially, I was feeling a bit cross over my dryer being out of commission; however, once I got into the rhythm of hanging clothes on the clothesline, I gained an appreciation for a more simple, age-old process.
There has been a clothesline in the backyard of this farm since my grandmother, Tillie, lived here. There was probably a clothesline here long before Tillie arrived. It is strange to think about those who have come before us, moving through their daily lives, laughing, crying, just living day-to-day life, and we stand in their place doing the same decades, even centuries later. I wonder how many times Tillie stood in the exact spot where I was standing looking out over the farm? What did she contemplate? Was she awed by the beauty of nature? I wondered if she enjoyed listening to the birds sing in the 100-year-old- hickory trees? Did she appreciate the sunshine? Did this farm offer her the peace and solace it offers me?
As I finished hanging our undergarments on the clothesline, I was struck by the colorful display they made. Our undergarments looked like a vivid banner at a carnival, blowing and flapping in the breeze. I began to laugh as I thought of what a distasteful banner they created. I was then struck with an appreciation for the opportunity to live in a place where we can display our colorful undergarments and not be embarrassed or barred from doing so. In this age of modern convenience, clotheslines are quickly going by the wayside. GramBarb lived in an over 55 community near Gettysburg, and she was not permitted to have a clothesline. It was actually written in the handbook of the homeowner's association that clotheslines were not permitted because they are unsightly and ruin the property's aesthetic. It is all well and good if one's dryer doesn't break but what is one to do in the event of said inconvenience. I guess one's options are drip drying over the bathtub or going to a laundromat.
Laundromats are settings of nightmares for me. There have been times in my life I have had to utilize such facilities of public convenience, and they have all left unseemly impressions upon my psyche. There is usually a couple in some form of copulation hanging out on the folding tables. There are typically ill-behaved children running amuck (probably products from aforementioned copulation on the folding table), and let us not neglect the overly chatty individual who takes an unnatural interest in one's laundry and laundry practices. No, I would rather turn my undies inside out and wear them dirty than go to a laundromat. I truly have an appreciation for the countrified convenience of a clothesline.
Although I am missing the convenience my dryer offers, I also appreciate the long-time practice of hanging my clothes out to dry. It creates a slower pace, a natural rhythm, and makes me grateful for the birdsong and sunshine. The five little piggies come and hang out near me in their pasture. They quietly snort and watch every move I make. When I speak to them, they oink in response then take off running as though I will chase them. The birds sing in the hickory trees next to the springhouse, and I appreciate their serenade. It reminds me that life does not have to always be at a breakneck speed, and we can work with nature to take care of what needs to be done. I am in no hurry for my dryer to be fixed. Of course, I have not had to hang my towels out to dry and then use them, feeling like rigid, crisp rectangles of sandpaper. On the upside, it will be an extra dose of exfoliation. No, I am not in a hurry at all.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, appreciate a slower pace, and of course, keep washing your hands.