Today I bought a hundred feet of bright yellow nylon rope and two packages of wooden clothes pins. Gary strung the line between two cedar trees for me, bolstering it in the middle with a T-post. I carried a laundry basket ladened with wet clothes out and hung them on the line for the first time in at least fifteen years.
In my life, dryers are a relatively recent luxury. I grew up without one, as my earthy mother considered them a waste of electricity. The little house we rented when the boys were small had fenced in yard with room for a small garden plot and a clothes line. I didn't need a dryer, we didn't have room for one, and hanging laundry just wasn't that much more work. Additionally, I didn't believe in disposables either, at least not until I had two boys in diapers at the same time (funny how that works). But the next two rental houses didn't have room for both a clothes line and a garden so I had to choose between the two (my priorities are obviously clear). I've had a dryer ever since.
I'd forgotten what it was like to hang a load of wet clothes up, one article at a time, popping each as I went, pairing socks, filling every available inch of line with articles of cloth. And I didn't know it, but I'd missed taking them down again, how they smell of sun and wind, how easy it was just to fold them and go inside and put them away.
My dryer is broken (the motor perhaps?). We'll either repair it or buy a "new" one next week. Meanwhile I'm going to appreciate the extra time in the sun, the memories of bright white cloth diapers, the onesies, and little socks, all hanging by the dozen. The line gives me a great view of the garden in the side yard and the bird feeders in the front. I can hear my wind chimes ringing and smell the grass and feel the decisive snap of the clothes pins, shaking the wrinkles out of the universe as I go.
While I'm at it, I'm going to introduce the boys to this forgotten skill. I'm particularly interested in educating the one who, as I was explaining it to them, wise cracked, "Yes, Mom, we know you used to do it this way when you were a kid. You had to lug it up hill, both ways, in the snow, right?" (In case you're wondering, this was Joseph, the red-headed middle child, who is very nearly fifteen years old, and possesses a seriously wicked sense of humor, but does not always think before he fires off one liners).
I squinted at him. That's right son, and when I'm done with you, you'll be able to tell the same story. Only at the rate you're going, yours is likely to involve a lot more beatings.
His blue eyes widened. "Would you like me to hang the first load?"
Maybe I'll wait a month or so before replacing that dryer.