Every spring I look forward to hanging laundry outside on the clothesline. It’s not about saving money or being eco-friendly, although those are both important to me; the real reason is that after a frozen Wisconsin winter hanging out laundry is therapy for my soul.
As I bend down to the basket the rich aroma of sun-warmed mud, musty old leaves and fresh grass tickles my nose. Stretching up to reach the clothesline I revel in the warm sun on my bare arms and the light breeze whispering in my ear and ruffling my hair.
It’s quiet in the neighborhood today. Usually I can hear the hubbub of children playing, but today the only sounds are a male cardinal singing on the uppermost branch of a neighbor’s tree and the muffled hum of traffic several blocks away. I hear leaves rustling in the corner of the yard and turn just in time to see two chipmunk playing tag.
The diapers are cool and damp in my hands but I know that soon they’ll be sun-warmed and dry. Their regimented rows reminds me of soldiers standing stiffly in formation. On either side of the diapers I hang clothes; longer items toward the very ends so the middles are free for boys to run under. One episode of muddy hand and face prints on pristine sheets taught me this lesson.
Holding a shirt and pair of jean cut-offs – both splattered with unfamiliar colors of paint – I wonder what and where Angel Face had been painting. I’m grateful that she used old clothing and will try to remember to tell her so. Little Guy’s favorite Cars jammies follow… Jo-Bear’s jeans… Z-Man’s sweatshirt… one by one the clothes are pinned up to dance in the breeze.
In just a few short hours the clothes will be dry, sweet-smelling, and ready be folded. The diapers take a little longer but soon will have magically surrendered their stains to the sun and dried stiff as boards – a quick spin in the dryer softens them nicely.
Folding sun-dried laundry is more pleasure than chore as the air is filled with a fresh spring fragrance. Burying my face in a shirt I inhale deeply, knowing that the scent will still be there in a day, week, or even in a month.
Tomorrow there will be more laundry to wash, to hang, to fold, to put away.
I can’t wait!