Despite last night's rain, the sun is out and streaming across the sky. Thick white clouds - the kind that remind kids of cotton candy - crowd out the blue in patches. The breeze is up - prime clothes drying weather.
Two years ago, when we replaced the tumble down fence separating our yard from our neighbors, we extended the fence to hide their garbage cans and to give us a long, narrow enclosed side yard. We subsequently tore out the overgrown ornamental bushes and put down flagstone and drought tolerant ground cover. Morning glories now climb the fence and peek over its latticed top. Against the fence, tucked in between stones, raspberry bushes leaf out. On one side of the walk is a high gate to the front yard. On the other side lies my backyard garden. A butterfly bushes stretches from it's winter sleep and a penstemon cradles the bird bath. A large windmill stands at attention, ready to welcome crawling runner beans and lemon cucumbers. Spring's early white butterflies tilt and dance among the blueberry bushes. This is where we strung up my clothesline.
Beyond the garden, two bird feeders sway with repeat visitors. Last week, the eggplant colored berries on the trees shading the lawn's remnants had apparently ripened. Aside from the usual orioles and sparrows, the trees rocked and waved with robins, jays and chickadees gorging on spring. The berries are now but a memory - devoured in just two days.
Inside, once the washer quiets itself, it is drying time. Now that the rains are, for the most part, gone, laundry heads out to the clothesline to dry. This morning, I carry my brimming wicker basket, startling a couple of phoebes pecking around for some bug or other. A squirrel freezes on the fence then leaps to a nearby tree. I set my basket on the flagstone and methodically bend down to retrieve a shirt, a pair of pants, a wash cloth and pin them to the clothesline. The birds decide that I am no threat and return to their tasks. Finches warble to each other over the thistle seed. A jay scolds a squirrel that has come to close. Robins swoop down to search for worms. I can even hear the buzz of bees investigating the strawberry flowers and flowering maple on the garden's edge. The breeze frolics with the clothes, shaking out wrinkles, sending a drying breath against the damp fabric.
My youngest pads around the corner in stockinged feet. I am found. I will also assume that the screen door is wide open - ushering every fly in the county in to sample our farmers' market strawberries. I hand the little guy a dish towel and a clothespin, showing him how to hang the towel over the line and clip it in place. He succeeds and smiles up at me, asking for another. We proceed, working quietly, until the clothesline is full and sags beneath its weight. Each of us take one of the basket's handles and walk back to the house - this time closing the screen door behind us.
Some people may find this method of drying clothes strange, outdated or a waste of time. To me, it is my meditation, my yoga, my 15 minutes a day when nothing but birds and butterflies clamber for attention and only wet towels beckon to be hung out to dry.