HANGING LAUNDRY OUTDOORS on the clothesline rates as an enjoyable activity for me, not a chore. Several times a week I unwind three lines, string them across the patio and clip laundry pulled from a clothes basket placed on the back steps. It’s pretty routine. I place heavier items in the full morning sun, sometimes shift clothing as the sun moves in the progression of the day.
The rhythm of pulling, clipping, pulling, clipping, is calming, soothing. I notice the sky, the weather. Hear birds above the drone of traffic. Feel the sun on my face.
I feel, too, a connection to the past, to all those women who, without dryers, relied on the sun and the wind to dry their laundry. Women who were saving energy and money long before that became an environmental and financial concern.
A few weeks back, my normal routine of pinning laundry onto the clotheslines proved anything but routine. When I reached into the faded dress-shaped clothespin bag crafted by my dad’s cousin Lindy, I felt something other than clothespins. I felt twigs. Lots and lots and lots of twigs.
I removed the bag, which I always hang with the opening placed inward against the side of the house, to investigate. I spilled the contents onto the back steps to reveal a pile of twigs, the makings of a bird’s nest. In less than two days, a bird had managed to somehow maneuver a stash of short sticks into the bag. How? I don’t know given the bag opened flat against the house. I do admire that bird’s determination and hard work.
But…I didn’t want a nest, broken eggs and baby birds among my clothespins. I felt some guilt in dismantling the under construction nest. Not enough, though, to cause me to refill the bag with clothespins and twigs and turn the bag to allow that bird easier access.
TELL ME: Would you have done the same as me, or allowed a bird to nest in a clothespin bag? No right or wrong answer here. Do you hang laundry outdoors?
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling