Contentment found in simple chores
|Funny how being frugal, environmentally aware, can be so soothing.
I am refreshed by the days that I hang the laundry on the clothesline stretched between the house and a small buck-thorn. The little tree is home to a couple of wren houses. The tiny birds fly out and click-click fiercely at me as I hang clothes on the line near the tree. Fresh air stirs the leaves and causes t-shirts to billow in the sunlight. It is such a simple pleasure to work in this way: doing a necessary task in a homely, unadorned manner.
I examine the wooden clothespin as I clip the clothes to the line. I have a plentiful supply. Some are made of two small sections of wood with a metal wire clipping the sides together. Some are single pieces of wood reminiscent of the sort we used as children to make clothespin people. We drew faces on the smooth round tops and glued yarn hair to the little people. a small piece of fabric and a dab of glue was all we needed to make an outfit for each.
I learned the art of clothes hanging from a dear friend. The clothes are hung in order. All the shirts together, then the socks paired up, and next the pants. I am amazed at the length of the pants these days. Where once I hung petite baby clothes, I now hang full-sized men's jeans. Though my babies are grown men and one is away at college, they endure my hugs and kisses as they lean down from tall, lanky frames.
The clothespins have come to me from several sources. Some have numbers written on them in black marker. They were given to me by my sister-in-law, Cathy. She used them while homeschooling her children, teaching them math facts. Cathy passed them on to me when I began to home-school our three sons a decade ago. Others came from an estate sale. A neighbor of my parents for more than 40 years, Hazel, raised her two daughters as a single mom in the 50's and 60's. I visited her estate sale and found the large pickle jar of wooden clothespins. Many of these clothespins are carved from a single piece of wood.
These simple implements also serve as a link. Generations of women have cared for their families' daily needs in this way. Washing, hanging out clothes, taking the fresh, dry clothes down with care and folding them, ready for use again. The continuity of care is a comfort to me. It reminds me of the security of simple daily cares. No matter what upsets come into my life, daily needs remain: food for the table, clean clothes, love expressed in deeds and words and hugs.
The clothes fill the line. The sunlight streams across the wide swath of yard behind our home. It infuses the clothes with warmth as my work infuses them with love.