ALREADY, MY FINGERS are beginning to numb and I am only half way through the first basket of wet laundry.
I reach into the clothes basket, to the very bottom, and pull out a pair of jeans. Then I slide my hand inside the clothespin bag, draw out two clothespins. Strategically, I clip the denim pants onto the line in a spot where the sun shines most intensely.
Then I move on to the next pair of jeans, the heavy towels, the shirts. Reach, grab, clip. Reach, grab, clip. I continue until the basket is emptied.
By now, my fingers are bone-chilling cold, simply brittle appendages attached to my hands. For a moment I question the sanity of hanging laundry outside on a November morning.
Then I hurry inside the kitchen with my empty basket. Warmth envelopes me as I glance at the temperature monitor, which registers at 32.5 degrees, barely above freezing.
An hour later I am outdoors again, the feeling back in my fingers, pinching vintage tablecloths onto the line. Watermelons and flowers on linen, reminders of summer hung out to dry on this brisk autumn morning.
To the east, the brilliant sun radiates through the bare branches of the maple in my backyard. To the west, barren trees stand stark against a blue sky dashed with wisps of white clouds.
Despite the cold that numbs my fingers, this is a beautiful November morning, perfect for hanging clothes on the clothesline.
© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling