Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The joys of hanging laundry outside March 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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MELTING SNOW MUSHES the lawn. Rivers of water stream across the driveway from dwindling snow piles. Water puddles in a corner of the garage. At night, sections of the driveway ice over.

But, during the day when the sun beams bright upon the land, the temperature soars into the high fifties/low sixties hinting at summer. Unbelievable in March in Minnesota.

Snow edges my patio where my clothesline unwinds between garage and house.

Snow edges my patio where my clothesline unwinds between garage and house.

The welcome warm weather prompted me to hang out my laundry for the first time in four months on Monday. It was a nippy 28 degrees when I hoisted the laundry basket onto my right hip and stepped out the back door to clip damp clothes to clothesline.

Some would call me crazy. I don’t care.

The clothespins I use are weathered by years of exposure to the weather.

The clothespins I use are weathered by years of exposure to the weather.

There’s something about hanging laundry on the line that is therapeutic. Pick and pinch, pick and pinch, pick and pinch. I work in a methodical rhythm pulling garments from the laundry basket and clipping them in an orderly fashion to the clothesline. Heaviest items like socks and jeans are hung in the brightness of the morning sun. By afternoon, when the sun shifts, the entire wash basks in solar rays.

This unstaged image captures the four seasons: summer/spring (lawn), winter (snow pile) and fall (dried leaf).

This unstaged image captures the four seasons: summer/spring (lawn), winter (snow pile) and fall (dried leaf).

After months of dreary skies and frigid cold, I love the feel of the sun upon my face, the blue of the sky, the promise of spring.

In my opinion, nothing beats line-dried laundry.

In my opinion, nothing beats line-dried laundry.

I love the connection to those pioneer women who hung their family’s laundry under a wide prairie sky. I wonder if they viewed the task as labor, just another chore to be completed. Or did they view hanging laundry as I do, as a precious, peaceful time to savor in the morning of a delightful day?

How about you, do you hang laundry outdoors?

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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