The Clothesline


This post was originally published in April 2015 when we lived in the cutest little bungalow in Atlanta. Since we left that house, I've longed for a new home that had the same feeling of home. This weekend, we hung up our clothesline in our new home on the North Shore of Massachusetts. It's funny ... that simple act of hanging a clothesline ... it feels symbolic in some ways. No longer are we wandering along a road, searching for a place to hang our hats. We are finally settled. And it feels so so good. Although our house isn't 100 years old, and there's no road that runs directly beside our new clothesline, so much of this post rings as true today as it was 3 years ago. And yes ... the picture is new :-).

I stand outside basking in the sunshine while I hang clothes on the line. Get a pin, hang it up, get a pin, hang it up. There’s something so calming about doing the laundry this way.

It’s such a sensory experience. I feel the dampness of the clothes as I pull them from the basket and put them on the line. I smell the fragrance of detergent and fabric softener. I hear cars driving, people walking, and the occasional airplane overhead. I see the many different colors in the clothes we wear daily.

And it’s no different in the taking them down. The dampness is gone – replaced with warm dryness, and sometimes that stiffness that only the sun can give. The smell has shifted to the clean smell of sunshine. We hear the siren of a fire engine; the neighbors’ dogs barking as people walk by. The sun is so warm you can almost taste it – making you long for a very cold glass of water.

As I do this work – the work of hanging up our laundry – the little ones play around me. Throwing sand out of the sandbox, picking leaves and flowers off the plants that have been patiently waiting  for the arrival of spring, inspecting the world in only the way tinies can.

People walking by sometimes stop to chat, commenting on the clothesline or the flowers we just put in. Sometimes it’s a familiar face, other times it’s a complete stranger just finding their way to their car parked down the street.

I can’t help but think back to when the house was built, over 100 years ago. Some mother did just as I now do, grab a pin, hang it up, grab a pin, hang it up. Talking to the neighbors as they walk by. Watching her little ones run around in this very same yard – I can’t help but wonder what it looked like back then.

In just a few short weeks, we have made doing laundry this way a part of our life. I find myself checking the weather at night to see if there will be sunshine to dry my clothes the next day. Hanging clothes up on the line even on cloudy days, in hopes that even a little bit of fresh air will do a tiny bit of good. I get disappointed if a day goes by and that little clothesline of mine is empty.

It’s funny how something so simple – and seemingly old fashioned – can bring such a smile to our faces. This business of hanging up clothes forces me to slow down and enjoy my surroundings. We’re all so much happier when we are outside; it just makes sense to do the daily business of life outside. The things of nature – the trees, the wind, the birds, the squirrels, the neighborhood owls – they all remind us that we are just one tiny part of the vast world that we live in.

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.