The Clothesline

Most people don’t care much for a clothesline. They are too busy running, scheduling and arriving, but something in me loves a clothesline. I love it the way I love my mother. I love it the way I love the first sunny day after a dark winter and I love it the way I love the feel of rich garden soil falling between my fingers.

A clothesline brings me home to myself more fully than my birth certificate, the key to my front door or the address printed on my letters.

What is it about a clothesline that opens this felt place?

Is it the knowing that women have stood before this same simple line doing the same task for as long as there have been clothes to wash? Is it the timeless connection with generations of women who have stood in the open air with the scent of hard work on their hands?

I don’t know what it is. I only know that it feels real to me, the same way that floating down a river feels real. The majesty of the trees, the massive power of rocks and the steady flow of water endure, while civilizations rise and fall, crumbling beneath their own ambitions.

It is so important to have things that are real to hang on to in ones life. That stability allows us to remember the essence of our soul and the fabric from which we’ve come.

I’ve been told there is an African tribe that gives each child a song to sing. A song that is only theirs, so when they find themselves dissipating in the larger world they can retreat, sing their song and come home to the truth of who they are. It is the medicine that returns them to the spirit within that remains constant.

I guess the clothesline is part of my soul song – And how lovely that a man with kind eyes and gentle hands help me sing it into place. Because of him the clothesline is stronger than it has ever been and farther away from the sloping ground that spills into the dense woods below.

The rope is strung between two cedar trees which are middle aged, but by no means old. They are strong, proud and happy to be of service. Before they stood idle, having nothing better to do than shelter a discarded hose and watch over a pile of rotting branches.

The wind spirits are dancing with the fabric of my rayon dresses as I write. They are doing a little two step with my lace edged slips. It makes me smile to watch them. It makes my heart sing. The sun is there too, witnessing and adding its warmth to this sensual outdoor dance. What a lovely thing to watch!

How amazing and magical it is that some part of my essence is involved in this alchemy, while another part, the physical part is too worn out from the demands of a full life, to venture far from my pillow.