A confession: In the past, when I saw a clothesline in an urban area, I assumed poverty . Pants, shirts and pajama bottoms fluttering in the breeze seemed a bit, well….third world.
I’m accustomed to my ever-running clothes dryer, and the mindless, fluffy warm goodness it brings. I’m used to my walls and my doors and anonymous, whitewashed gloss.
And now we live in Spain. In an urban area. That is, an urban area with crowing roosters and grazing burros.
There are fruit stands and roundabouts and beaches and castles.
We have a dryer, in our outside lavadero (another Spanish tradition I rather adore), but at best, it gets the clothing less damp. If I continually re-started it, it would take most of a day to machine-dry one load.
And so, I step into the sunshine, and peg my clothing on the line. And wouldn’t you know? It’s a bit holy.
I meditate on the nature of the task. I can’t multitask or rush it. Really, I can’t do anything but move my arms, and bend up and down. I listen to the dogs and roosters as I button and hang each item of clothing. I match the socks, and straighten the hems.
Sometimes, as I work, I think of my grandparents and great-grandparents, in Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I think of their weathered hands, as they pegged their sheets on the line, letting nature work its alchemy. And now, so very far away from home, I feel a communion with them, a memory of a time when things were less rushed.
Perhaps poverty is to be found, not so much in a clothesline, but rather in distraction. In learning this, I am so very grateful.