I was hanging the clothes on the line in a wonderful breath of fresh air yesterday. I have been taking full advantage of our lovely 55 degree temps and breeze to save some energy and money by not using the dryer. I realize what I'm about to tell you is revealing something deeply disturbing to some people...but, that's okay with me.
I love hanging clothes on the line. In fact, when we signed our lease, I wrote in the stipulation that I wanted to put up a clothesline here (along with a garden, both of which the landlord approved...gotta love rural living!). At our condo, we were not allowed to have a clothesline, it was written in the bylaws...how stupid. And I love the scent that line dried clothes have- fresh, clean and sunny- and the stiffness and roughness that drying without chemical dryer sheets affords.
There are so many great things about the art of hanging clothes. First of all, the time it takes to perform this chore. It makes the pace of life automatically slower for that moment. Really, there's no way to rush through hanging clothes out. It takes as much time as it takes, and that's that. In this time, which invariably includes sunshine and warm weather to enjoy (not many household chores afford that luxury!)-- I think. I spend a lot of the household chore time thinking, pondering, working things out. Today, it prompted me to consider the sacredness of this chore. It gives me time to be alone, inside my thoughts-silence if you will. For a Quaker, there is divine in silence, and with the three men in my life that are constant chatter boxes, I don't get enough silent time. I crave and revere it, in fact. In silence, the opportunity to hear God's message for me is available, there isn't all that other noise to clutter up receiving it, and I am able to speak to Him without distractions.
I'm able to take a moment and just breathe, to listen to the birds (which I was thrilled to discover were around in full force!), to feel the sun on my skin and feel the refreshing thrill of spring. All the while, performing the methodical task of removing clothes from the basket, shaking the wrinkles out and pinning to the line. It's a tangible reward, this chore. To go from a full basket of wet clothes, to an empty basket and a full line, then when dry on a full line and empty basket back to a full basket and empty line when removed. Tangible feeling of accomplishment for me, and I do appreciate the reward of that.
I also feel the sacredness of caring for my family in that moment. It gives me a chance to really see the clothes. A loose button here, a rip in a seam there, I'm given the opportunity to see what repairs my family's clothes may need. When stuffing into the washer, to removing to dryer, I don't see the clothes as well, don't analyze their appearance the way the slower method of hanging to dry allows me. My hands are on each piece individually as I carefully pin them to the line, so my sense of responsibility to my family is right there in my cold, damp fingers.
I know, I'm in the crazy minority of people in our lovely country who would actually enjoy such things. I'm very aware that my desire to keep my life at a slower pace is in direct contrast to most Americans. I don't have any wish to cram as much as possible in my days to fall into bed exhausted and, what for me, would be unfulfilled at the end of my days. I'm always looking for ways to slow it down, to make it more sacred, to honor my time and job as a mother and homemaker. Yes, I make a home for my family, that's no small accomplishment. To be responsible for the health, cleanliness, nourishment and well being of three souls beyond myself every moment of every day. That is sacred, that is valuable, and that is where part of my heart lies. I feel good at the end of a day, like today, when I've cleaned the bathrooms, washed the clothes and come in from taking them off the line to the smell of bread baking that will nourish my family, and know that I made a difference to them today.
Wishing you your own moments of sacredness, ~Peacemom