Do you have a clothesline? One of those now old fashioned ways of drying clothes? I do. It’s a new one too. I’ve only had it about two months and already I’m in love with it. But today is the first day I feel why. It’s overcast, windy and our first cold afternoon. Not cold by northern standards, only by southern, and it feels wonderful.
The day is coming to its end. The clothes are out on the line and I can tell by the way they hop in the wind which ones are denser, not as dry yet as the lighter weight ones. T-shirts are lithe, work shirts airy, hand towels move with a little less agility and the bath towels move as if in slow motion. They are the heaviest, the most ungainly dancers, and the first things I put out. My line is unique for a country clothesline. This kind is/was usually found in cities strung between buildings on pulleys. I have one pulley on my deck attached to another on a tree. A good forty feet stretches out giving me plenty of room for a full load of clothing and more. You should see the sheets when they take center stage. My daughter’s old school bag holds all my clothes pins and memories of her young and precious face always accompany me when the clothes go out on the line.
It isn’t twilight yet. It’s that time right before the day readies to put itself to bed. Jacques Brel is playing inside, the puppy is joyful in the lightness of cool weather and my husband’s cooking smells of curry and rice and all things Indian. He has lighted the first fire of the season in the fireplace. I don’t worry about the clothes smelling like smoke because there is too much wind for that. Almost the moment my nose registers the perfume of the smoke it’s gone, like a promise of yesterday.
Tomorrow it’s back to the work grind but right now I can indulge in missing France, the scents and sounds unique to that country. That’s what the clothesline reminds me of with its clothes whipping out their ballet in the wind. My mother in law puts out her laundry on a line and the odor of her freshly washed and dried clothing is the main reason I wanted to put up a clothes line. Before this, speed and ease were of paramount importance to me. Now I find scent, time, and memory take center stage, along with the sheets, of course. I watch my husband’s long sleeved work shirt billow and it’s as if the wind is trying it on. But then it empties, deciding it likes its freedom more than wearing a shirt.
I guess it could be age that makes me feel this longing/desire and love for my life, and if it is, I like it. Soon, I’ll go and take the clothes down and this moment will be over. Thank goodness there is an endless supply of dirty laundry guaranteeing more thoughtful and picturesque moments to come. Who knew cloths on a line could be so whimsical? I should have taken a picture.