Of all the things I love here in New York, the clothesline is one of my favorites. It is long and sturdy and perfectly place to catch bright sun and drying breezes. Situated between the cabin and the bunkhouse, we are often ducking under damp clothes to get from one building to the next. I love seeing clothes strung out on the line, swinging in the wind.
And here, the clothesline is a necessity. There isn’t a clothes dryer, so (short of making a trip to the Laundromat) it’s the only way that are clothes get dry. In fact, the washing machine—a tiny single-cycle unit that runs only on our very cold well water—is a relatively new addition. Before that, we had to go to the next town over to wash our clothes before hanging them out on the line at home.
I have made half-hearted attempts to add a clothesline to our backyard at home. I put up a retractable clothesline attached to a tree, but it didn’t really have enough linear feet to hold a whole load of clothes, limiting its usefulness. Steve and I have talked about putting in a clothesline, but he’s always been reluctant—he sees how busy we both are, and just doesn’t think that when it came down to it, we would actually walk outside and hang out the clothes instead of putting them into the dryer.
And maybe he’s right. Line drying is time consuming, and certainly requires more attention than throwing clothes in our gas dryer. The clothes need tending—are they dry? Is it going to rain? Should we bring them in now?
In a way, what I love about our clothesline is what I love about our time in New York. With much less outside-the-home work, and few things-to-do-places-to-go-and-people-to-see, there is plenty of time and attention to tend the clothes on the line, to pick and process produce, to start and complete craft projects, and all the other everyday things that sometimes get short shrift in our busier lives at home.
Life at home will always be busier. For one thing, many more adult-hours are spent earning a living. And there will be classes and friends and other activities. But I’m thankful for this little slice of the year where things slow down, and we really can spend days quilting and writing and tending the laundry. It gives me a little glimpse of all kinds of possibilities.
In the meantime, I don’t think we’ll put up a clothesline at home. Not yet, anyway. But I’ll continue to strive for more balance, aspiring to a life that includes plenty of time and space for all the richness of life—work and play and domestic tasks and all.