After a week of cold grayness and rain, I awoke this morning to a sun-filled day. Hey, the perfect day for the return of my clothesline! It only took five minutes to pluck it from the space it had been hibernating in all winter, and put it up outside. Within an hour there were towels, washcloths and socks drying in the sunshine.
I’ve always had this “thing” about using a clothesline. Maybe it’s the idea of saving a little money on the utility bill. Maybe it’s that I like the idea of not using electricity and natural gas when I don’t need to. Maybe it’s the wonderful smell of things that are dried in the sun. Maybe it’s the natural exercise of bending up and down to hang the laundry. All of these things are good reasons for using a clothesline, but there’s an even better reason – the mental and spiritual benefits.
Yup, you read that right. Mental and spiritual benefits. Our clothesline is tucked around the corner at the back of the house, sandwiched between the side of the house and a row of wind-breaker trees. It’s a quiet corner full of peacefulness. Life slows down there, and the world’s troubles are far away.
There is a wonderful satisfaction in the simple act of hanging up the family laundry. Good memories flow through my head as I bend down, up, clip clip, down up, clip clip. I remember hanging up cloth diapers. Then I think of the kids running through the tunnel of sheets as pre-schoolers and laughing. (We used to have long parallel lines, as opposed to the small square one now.). Then there were the times we dragged blankets outside, draped them over the lines, and held the sides open with bricks. Instant army tent or king’s castle, depending on your moment of imagination. My mind feels relaxed and healthy.
Being outside with my clothesline also makes me feel the presence of God more clearly. I can smell the sweet aroma of the fresh air and the grass He created, see the brilliant colors contrasted with the more muted ones, feel the breeze against my skin, and hear the chatter of the birds that live in the trees. Occasionally a rabbit pops out of the trees, and we stare at each other. Creation is in sync. My spirit is rested and refreshed.
Using a clothesline isn’t everyone’s idea of therapy, but for myself, it just plain works. I’ll keep hanging up clothes, and the neighbors will keep thinking I’m a little crazy. But that’s okay…