Clotheslines

I’m certain I’m reincarnated from 1910 England…or at least an earlier era.

There are certain odd things that I feel a sense of deep connection to, an attraction that seems to go deeper than simply liking something. And as I say, these things I’m attached to are odd.

Clothelines are an example.

The clotheslines I’m attracted to must be old-fashioned – the wooden “T” shape frame on both ends with rope strung across in a rectangle shape. (The modern 1950’s circle affair made of aluminum has absolutely no draw for me.)

One of my favorite sights is white sheets blowing in the wind on the clothesline….and one of my favorite smells is those same sheets when taken inside from the line. The sound of the sheets as they whip in the wind on the line makes me happy and comforted. It’s the sight, the sound, the smell – that’s when you know you’ve deeply connected.

And they can’t be patterned sheets on the line but white sheets – crisp, clean, fresh. I picture the cotton bag holding the clothespins – wooden of course and preferably not the clip kind but the old fashioned slim line ones that look like a little man – round head with no features, 2 legs, simple Shaker-like design. Designed and created according to what works best.

The laundry basket must be old and wicker, never a Rubbermaid bucket which may be practical but can’t cut it for my vision.

There is a certain feeling of productivity and industry in seeing laundry on a line. Someone has washed it for the family and taken the time to hang it on the line. She will then take it down, fold it, iron it for her family to wear again.

In college, there was a short story I read as an English major that has haunted me my entire life. I don’t know why. It was about a woman ironing. She recounted her life “as I stood ironing.” It was the act of standing there, quietly ironing, that made her think and remember and reflect on her life.

I think there are a lot of household chores that can put us in a meditative state – sweeping a floor, chopping vegetables, washing dishes by hand…and hanging clothes outside on a line in the sunshine and fresh air.

There is something to be said for simple physical tasks, done in silence, as a sort of meditation to calm us…getting us away from cell phones, computers, and the noise of our lives.

Photo: from Pinterest.com/lschrenk/clotheslines-old-fashioned/

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