I just got done hanging two loads of wash out on the clothesline on this beautiful spring morning. As I was pinning each article of clothing to the line I thought about how this was once the way of life for most people.There were no dryers to toss things in and whip around until dry; people had to take the time to hang their wash outside. The best was when everything had been dried and even warmed by the sun, and the fresh smell of outside air had been infused into the clothes themselves. And who could possibly resist the urge to bury their nose into the clean laundry and take in a giant whiff?
I suppose we are too busy these days to enjoy this simple pleasure which tends to bring back a host of memories for many of us. The sense of smell is the biggest trigger for human beings with regards to memory. A scent can remind us of something we may cognitively been unable to recall. It can take us back 30, 40 or 50 years in a single second, before we even realize that we were taken anywhere at all.
Clothes, hanging on the line, is a visual story for our neighbors. They see the sizes of the clothes changing as our children grow. They may witness a new size added to the line signifying a tiny addition to one’s family. When the line is bare it states “We are away”, and when the following week comes about and the line is full once again, it tells everyone that we are now home and to please stop by. You have nothing to hide when you clothes are on the line. Ah look your neighbor sleeps on striped be linens, or the beautiful table cloth is on the line, possibly they are going to be entertaining a special guest.
The clothesline symbolizes tradition, a way of life, simplicity, comfort, an era gone by. Maybe it is something to revisit this summer. You know…take the time to smell the clothes that were just pulled down off of the line.