Friday, June 14, 2013

Happy Washerwoman

Each year about this time, friends begin remarking on my tan. They'll say, "Wow, you must have been sunbathing!" or "Looks like you're enjoying your retirement!" or "Have you been to Hawaii recently?" They don't believe me when I tell them it's all from hanging out the wash.

It's true that my face and hands are darker in good weather than they are all winter long. I do hang out my wash when possible in the rainy months, too, but it's far more frequent in the summer and fall when nearly every Monday is sunny and breezy.

It's what I call a "farmer's tan," confined almost entirely to face and hands, and ending in wormy white skin just under collar and cuffs. Still, it makes me happy to hang out the wash and I'm far too lazy to smear on sunscreen before I go out, so I figure that those few minutes per day once a week won't kill me.

This next statement may cause you to shake your head in disbelief, but I love hanging out the wash. It's not really about being green, although that is a side benefit. It's also not about saving time, although I do save a lot of time over waiting for the endlessly churning dryer to be ready for the next load. 

It's really about being outside on a pretty day with sweet-smelling fabrics of so many different colors. The repetitive actions of stretching and pinning are almost  meditative. Choosing another garment from the basket, grabbing a handful of clothespins, reaching up, tilting my face to the sun. My mind wanders from the enjoyable task to all kinds of random thoughts from observing that the neighbor's house needs painting to contemplating the universe. 

The whole experience reminds me how lucky I am to have plenty of clothes to hang, so many colors to enjoy.  How fortunate I am to live where the sun shines so predictably, how blessed I am to have so much to be grateful for.  

Taking down the fragrant, scratchy fabrics ends the day on a high note, too. The towels are stiff and the fabrics are all wrinkly - it doesn't matter. Just reminds me that I'm also lucky to have given up ironing for life. I don't think my tutoring students care if my clothes have wrinkles; they just enjoy reading with me.  I know My Beloved likes the sweet smell of his sun-dried shirts. And I actually enjoy the delicious scratchiness of towels dried outdoors.

I have often thought that if I were to lose all my money, I could make my living by taking in the wash from other families who are too busy to hang out the wash. I hope that never happens but, if it did, I'd call my business "The Happy Washerwoman."

7 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

Doing what you like in the sun.. exercise, ecology and fun. Would you believe our HOA forbids hanging laundry. We still sneak out the beach towels and throw rugs.

Friday, June 14, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, lots of HOAs stipulate that these days. I once rejected a housing development for just that reason.

Friday, June 14, 2013  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

And their reason for forbidding clotheslines (though they'd never admit it) is that they believe line drying is low-budge, trashy, poor suckers can't even afford a dryer.
And they are so wrong. Now, line drying is intelligent, green, hip, desirable, even trendy. An upscale symbol of a worthy neighborhood. Bastids.

Friday, June 14, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, one of my neighbors here objected to my clothesline to Buzz, who put him in his place by saying "We're the greenest house on the block." Silly to deny that we all have laundry.

Saturday, June 15, 2013  
Blogger Diane said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013  
Blogger Diane said...

I so love this post. I can smell the freshness and remember when my mom always hung the wash out in the summertime.
(Deleted first version for typo! I wish we could edit our own comments.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Like you, I have memories of my mother hanging out the wash, and teaching me the "proper" way to peg things on the line.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013  

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