Posted in Air, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Heartfulness, In these strange times, Life, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Summer, Writing

Hanging laundry

On the clothesline this morning.

The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion … open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.

~ Orhan Pamuk

Washing the blues today.

I must like writing about laundry.  It’s a subject I come back to from time to time.  It’s not a subject I post about a lot, but it does show up — has shown up — somewhere on all of the blogs I’ve had over the years.  A search of Life in the Bogs turns up numerous little essays I wrote about laundry and one or two about ironing.  The same is true for Bountiful Healing although it will be difficult for people to find them because, for reasons I can’t remember or fathom, I privatized a bunch of posts.  (Someday, if I think it’s worth the time, I’ll go back and undo that.)  Quite a number of posts show up here, too, when I search for laundry, but most just seem to mention it rather than be the main subject of the post.

Side note:  Life in the Bogs and Bountiful Healing are no longer updated.  I do have another blog where I post a photo and a quote every now and then:  Morning Attitude.  That one is more for my own attitude adjustment — which is why I haven’t advertised it — but it’s open to the public and you’re welcome to visit anytime.

Patterns.

My mother once told me that she loved washing dishes.  I looked at her with open-mouthed surprise when she made that statement.  My memories of Mom and the dishes are the kind of recollections in which I’m being told to wash the dishes.  Do a chore kind of thing.  I think my assumption was that she wanted me to wash them so that she wouldn’t have to because she didn’t like doing the dishes.  It was woman’s work.  Washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, most of the indoor stuff, was considered woman’s work (or women’s work, if you want to get plural about it) back in those days, or at least considered so by the patriarch of the family (who has, since Mom died, learned to cook and clean for himself).

Well, you know what they say about assuming or, specifically, the word assume.  (“It makes an ass out of u and me,” a boss from long ago told me.)  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that is a truth, but it has been true from time to time.  In this case, it was just a surprise.  I asked Mom why she liked doing the dishes and she told me that the main reason was because it gave her time to herself.  You see, nobody wanted to enter the kitchen when Mom was washing the dishes for fear that she’d make us do them.  No one stepped foot inside the kitchen until we heard the water in the sink being emptied and gurgling its way down the drain.

A loose thread.

I realized today that I feel the same way about hanging the laundry out on the line to dry as my mother felt about washing dishes.  It’s not just about the time to myself.  I get plenty of that throughout the day when M is at work (except, of course, during the beginning months of the pandemic when he was required to work from home).  I do cherish the alone time, but it’s also about the repetition of it (something else my mother liked about washing dishes).  There’s a meditative quality to it.  Pick up the article of clothing, shake it out, turn it the way you want to hang it, pin it up one clothespin at a time, move the line itself (I have an Amish style clothesline with a pulley system) and begin again until the line is full or I’ve run out of clothing to hang.

I like the light, the sunshine, the sky, the breeze or wind or air, the scents of the clean laundry and whatever the air is carrying (except for the days it is carrying the smelliness of chicken shit when the farmers are fertilizing their fields).  I like the sounds of the wind, the birds, the rustling of the leaves on the trees and the grasses in the marsh.  In the summer months, a hummingbird usually stops by to see me as I hang clothing on the line.  Sometimes he is buzzing me to let me know the feeder needs to be refilled.  Sometimes it seems as if he’s just saying hello or maybe he’s saying thank you for the sugar water.

There is, or can be, a devotional quality to hanging the laundry.  Or washing the dishes.  Or any of the thousands of other little acts of love we perform throughout the day.  I used to call them chores, but they have become less chore-like with the new name “acts of love.”

Wrinkles and folds.

Thank you so much for visiting with me today as I hang my laundry out to dry.  Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset if you’re willing to brave the heat.  It’s pretty bad today.  We currently have a feels-like temp of 112°F this afternoon.  Might be best to wade into the water and cool off a bit as we wait for the sun to slip down behind the watery horizon.  Sunset is scheduled for 8:05 PM.

Please be safe, be well, and stay cool, man.  Stay cool.

Boundaries.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  2,066)  Homemade pickles made with cucumbers from the garden.  I like making them and I like eating them.  2,067)  Hanging laundry out to dry, even in this heat.  It dries quickly, that’s for sure.  2,068)  Dear friends.  2,069)  Dragonflies.  2,070)  Time to rest, relax, and recover.  It seems to take longer now than it used to.

Queen Anne’s Lace in a meadow in the mountains.
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Author:

Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

21 thoughts on “Hanging laundry

  1. I’m a devoted fan of hanging laundry for all the reasons you mentioned. (I wrote a post once called ‘Laundry Meditation’ so we’re similar in that respect.) Both hanging and collecting later in the day are opportunities to just ‘be’ and observe nature. My favorite chore, or ‘act of love.’ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to both, Eliza! The only time I’m not a fan of taking the laundry down is when I’m rushed for some reason (incoming rain, for instance). It’s nice to be able to take my time. 🙂

      Like

  2. Gorgeous post, Robin. The photos and the saturation of color, the dragonfly. The mood. The musings. And yes, something meditative about laundry, dishes–if you let yourself go for a bit. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Things like washing dishes, hanging laundry are meditation of a sort. A “bubble” with smells, sounds and textures the mind registers during the repetition. People wondered why I enjoyed cutting the lawn. I suspect it was the same for my dad who had a massive lawn – which confused my older brother who only saw the chore. Cuts both ways. HaHa
    Have a pleasant reflective week.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember hanging diapers on the line back in the day before we could afford a dryer! Once we got a dryer, I rarely hung things on the line again. Of course, I live in a place with long cold winters, and strong summer winds that bring lots of dust!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your area doesn’t sound conducive to hanging laundry, Margy. I hung diapers on the line, too, although we did have a dryer at the time. It was a way to get outside for a bit and have a little time to myself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I, too, enjoy hanging clothes outside on a line to dry … except when Monkey charges me and wants to herd me! I can see how a “task” like that — with its repetition and solitude — can be both relaxing and enjoyable. Me? I’ve always enjoyed ironing! No, I’m really not crazy. There’s something satisfying about removing wrinkles!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing crazy about enjoying the ironing, Debbie. I’ve written about that too, somewhere along the way. It’s my least favorite chore until I settle in and do it. Something happens while I’m actually doing the ironing that turns it from a least favorite to something I enjoy doing. Maybe it IS the satisfaction of removing wrinkles. I hadn’t thought of that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I find doing the dishes meditative, too, and look forward to it. And I do miss the days when I could hang laundry outside. Those colorful clothespins must be fun to use. Do they still make the wooden ones, I wonder? Nothing smells better than the scent of fresh clean sheets off the line…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They do still make the wooden ones, Barbara. Lehman’s (Hardware), one of my favorite places to shop (especially in person but I do order from them online from time to time since I’m not in Ohio anymore), carries the old-fashioned kind (called “Grandma’s Pegs”) and the kind with springs. They also have the plastic, colorful kind that I use. They have a whole laundry section that’s fascinating to look at because they sell to the Amish (and Amish-made items) so they carry a lot of things that don’t use electricity (wringer washers, for instance).

      https://www.lehmans.com/category/laundry-supplies

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the link to Lehman’s, Robin. I never heard of them before and enjoyed browsing through their products. When I was a teenager living in Greece my parents bought a used wringer washer, so we didn’t have to wash our clothes by hand in the bathtub any more! It was quite a learning experience and we had a lot of fun figuring it out. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the first time, IN MY LIFE that I have no clothesline. I am bereft. I am trying to figure out where I can install one because I am so very sad that I no longer have the ritual of hanging my clothes on the line (oh, the sheets!!! Whether sun-kissed or cooled in the spring or late fall air… I miss you so!)
    As for dishes, I understand your mother. While I hate having to do them, I love when I CHOOSE to do them. I can’t help but picture Martin Sheen and whoever played his wife in “Catch Me if You Can” – a simple scene that just stayed with me all these years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dynzDO_oQQ And bizarrely, when I am very upset, dishes centre me.
    As always, beautiful post, Robin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice scene! Thank you for sharing it, Dale. I didn’t remember it (although I did see the film). Washing dishes centers me, too, as do some of the other household chores. I think it is, in part, something I can DO (and control, maybe?).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny the things that stay with us from a movie. There is a zen-like feeling that can happen when you do dishes (peacefully) and yes, there is some feeling of control when done to escape? something we do not have control over…

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  8. A lovely post, Robin. I can understand the meditative aspects of repetitive chores/acts of love, necessity, or whatever, and your description “almost” makes me want to hang out wash on a line. We’ve always used a dryer–and so did my mom. I suspect my stuff would just end up with bird poop and pollen on it. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 Oh, I end up with bird poop and pollen on my laundry. There’s a hummingbird feeder not far from the clothesline and the hummingbirds like to perch on the line and keep an eye on the feeder (they’re very territorial). Thankfully, they are small birds who don’t emit a lot of poop. 😀 They don’t do it all the time, either. As for the pollen, I try to keep an eye on that so that I’m not getting it on the clean laundry. I never hang laundry when the pine pollen is flying and covering everything in inches of yellow dust.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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