It's hard to believe I lived as long as I did in the city without a proper clothesline. When I first moved in to my little house in Waterloo, I quickly got my then father-in-law to remove the scarecrowish clothes-hanging thingy that was rusting to death in the backyard. It was so ugly I didn't even stop to consider that it might be useful. Instead, I went to Crappy Tire and purchased a retractable clothesline, smugly attaching it to my deck that very evening. I would be helping the environment, saving money and electricity and generally looking very granola with my fancy new clothesline.
I realized after the first time I tried it that I'd made a terrible mistake. The line was 20 feet long, which only provides enough room to hang a few sheets and maybe one sock; I owned a king-sized bed and a heck of a lot of socks. I had to climb up on the one rickty stool I owned to attach the line to the maple tree in the back yard every time I wanted to hang laundry, which meant enduring the amused looks of my neighbours. (They used their clothesline to exercise their cat and dried their clothes in a dryer) My line also had to be forcibly retracted once I was done, kind of like winding up a really long, tiresome yoyo.
Worse, the darned thing would never stay taut. It'd inevitably droop into the flowerbeds or a pile of doggie doo. Once I even came out to find my dog asleep in the middle of my white sheets as they dragged across the lawn.
Imagine my absolutel delight when we moved to Someday and I saw my new best friend: 60 feet of glorious double line, complete with a concrete landing from which to survey my domain while I hang my clothes out. It even came with those metal pulley things to keep the lines tight when you hang really heavy towels on them. Hallelujia!
I adore the smell of sheets that have been hung outside to dry, so I can't get enough of this clothesline stuff. Clothes just seem cleaner to me after they've been soaked in an afternoon's sunshine. Plus, you leave 'em out overnight during a heavy dew and voila! Hello extra whiteness and brightness, all thanks to Mama Nature. And yeah, I found that out through sheer laziness one night when I was too into my book to go take the clothes off the line.
A baby on board means more laundry than I'd ever envisioned, especially since we use cloth diapers. But I love the poetry of Jade's wee clothes waving at me from the line; the pinks and blues and yellows become a rainbow of pastel colours that make it worth all the trouble and time of hanging them up.
And instead of listening to the dry humping sounds of my 15 year old dryer, I hear the cedar waxwings peeping in the apple trees and crickets sing in the alfalfa. I get to feel the wind muss my hair, the sun glow on my face, and cool, damp sheets against hot arms and shoulders on those scorcher summer days. Instead of gazing at damp cement basement walls, I watch monarch butterflies flutter crazily across the lawn. It's lovely.
Sure, tossing stuff from the washer to the dryer is less time consuming. Yeah, you have to wrestle with heavy sheets, learn the art of the clothespin, search for dropped socks in the thorny roses. And since Someday is always windy, my brother in law, the UPS guy, and a visiting neighbour have all rescued clothing that's tried to escape. Sometimes it ends up in the cornfield, or on the hood of my car. Once my brother in law brought me a stray t-shirt, then pointed to a pair of my dainty underthings lying in the middle of the lawn. "You dropped something. I ain't touching it." But I think hanging laundry builds character in a way that spending too much time with a big white dryer in the depths of the basement never can.
Now the question is, what will I do when the snow flies???