Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hang It All


Betty's no Luddite, you can be sure of that, but hanging out clothes gives me quite a charge. Not only am I helping out Mother Earth by not running the dryer, I get that fresh smell in my clothes that gives me an irresistible Eve-like aura wherever I go.

OK, OK, there are certain disadvantages to drying clothes on a clothes line. Sure, sometimes I can't sit down because my jeans are a little stiff. OK, sometimes people think I'm very, very, very tense because of the way the fabric on my shoulders pokes up, like very small circus tents, the result of hanging the shirt on the line via clothespins at the shoulder seams.

However, there's something renewing, something grounding about placing clothes side by side on a clothesline. There is no other time clothes hang so frankly, facing out into the world. When the boys were little I would step back to see their tiny shorts and shirts hanging there, connected by clothespins to our pants and shirts, blessed by the sun. They flapped against each other, seeming to celebrate being together.

This past week, I was bombarded with technology. Returning to work meant learning new codes for new computer programs. I also got a new phone which meant learning more codes and procedures. New pin numbers, new passwords, new access codes. By the end of the week, I was all done, fed up with with keyboards, and commands from disembodied voices, and lighted screens.

So, Saturday morning, I stepped out into the sun, on to the grass, shook out my laundry fresh from the washer and picked up a simple clothespin. I smiled as I felt the slightly rough wood between my fingers as I opened it, the small spring responding immediately to the force of my thumb and forefingers coming together.

I clipped the shirts and jeans and towels to the clean, elementary string tied to the solid metal posts. Then I stayed a few minutes after it was all hung, listening as the clothes began to whisper in the wind, sharing stories.

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