Clothesline

May 26, 2005 at 11:19 am (Uncategorized)

*Edited*

There is something therapeutic about hanging clothes out to dry. The repetition of bending and picking and shaking and smoothing wrinkles from the wet material. The acrobatics of plucking the clothespin from its place, either from the clothesline or the hem of my shirt or the edge of the laundry basket, and merging the three, the line, the material, the pin, and moving to the next corner of the jeans or shirt.

The sun is just beginning to hit my yard, although the pin oak on the edge of my neighbor’s property casts a long shadow as its exactly due east. As the sun arcs over the earth today, it, and the light breeze, will evaporate all of the water from the clothes and so the cycle of water to earth will be complete. All I could hear were the birds twittering and nothing else. My shoes and the hem of my pants are damp with dew but methodically I keep putting the clothes on the line.

I miss my big fat cat Smokey. He’s in the house. He’s in renal failure. I think of how he would just pee on the clothes or my leg as he’s old and cantankerous and for some reason has become quite rude. I’m perhaps the most empathic with animals. I tried to get him in the cat carrier and he fought me, which just stressed both of us.

He refused to come in the house last night. He just sat on the porch and drooled because of the mouth ulcers. Perhaps he wanted to lay in the moonlight. The other cats know he’s not well and are scorning him, if not being mean to him, but he came in this morning, or rather I picked him up and brought him in. I’m afraid if someone sees him drooling like that they will think he’s rabid, which I know he’s not. He’s not stressed. For now, he’s doing things his way. When he looked up into my eyes this morning, I saw “good-bye.”

I look over into the neighbor’s yard, which is choked with weeds and baby trees where the seedlings have survived. The trees are not on my property yet their limbs lean over and some, more daring than others, grow through the chain links, their roots frustratingly in someone else’s soil. I can see a thin layer of trash under the bramble. They don’t do anything about it.

I duck under the line and come up too quickly and catch my hair on a clothespin. I scoot the basket along in front of me. The sun is warm on my back, illuminating the hair around the sides of my face. I feel a bit of the material from my pants clinging to my ankle, cold and uncomfortable, but the breeze is in my face. I clip the last pin, push the basket a little further, duck out from under the lines, and walk away. When I look back, the clothes are waving.

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