August 25, 2006

Hung Out to Dry

Rules for hanging laundry out on the clothesline to dry:
1. Don't do it on the same day the lawn gets mowed.
2. If there's any chance of a breeze picking up, make sure the clothes are securely fastened with clothespins.
3. When hanging a load of whites, wear sunglasses.
4. Take the laundry down just before it's completely dry, or the hot summer sun will bake it nice and crisp, and your shirts and bath towels will be as hard and stiff as a pizza box.

I don't remember the last time it rained. Was it two months ago? Three? It's quite normal for the valleys of California to go all summer without any precipitation. A few years ago, Los Angeles had over 200 consecutive days with no rain.

Here in the Sacramento Valley, I am often able to look out my kitchen window and see thunderclouds forming to the east, over the Sierra Nevada. Two weeks ago, on the night my wife and I went to see Santana in concert at an outdoor amphitheater, we could see lightning not too far away. But no rain.

Fortunately, I am able to put this hot, dry weather to work. At the beginning of summer, our clothes dryer stopped working. It still spins, but there's no heat. Without heat, it takes hours for the clothes to dry. The hot California sun, on the other hand, can have clothes dry in as little as 30 minutes. So all summer long, I've been hanging the laundry out to dry.

I like hanging my clothes out to dry because it proves, in this small area of my life at least, that I don't have to depend on PG&E to get the job done; I'm harnessing my own energy, from the sun. I like it, because it connects me to the elements: wind, fire, water. (The fire may be 93 million miles away, but it's still hot.) I like it because it's a simple, repetitive task that is conducive to meditative thinking, like running or making palm crosses.

It also saves on the electric bill, which -- my house being a parsonage -- my church pays for.

And when the laundry is finished, and it's all folded and put away, there's a sense of accomplishment. The goal is reached. The laundry basket is empty. The task is done.

Until tomorrow.


YourFireAnt said...

I love your clothes hanging out to dry guidelines. However, I love the crisp baked quality of overdried towels. And of course the smell of sun in all of it.

jo(e) said...

I love the way clothes smell after they've been dried in the sun.

ppb said...

Rule number one is an important one!