Spring is the snow disappearing, birds returning, a few brave shoots of grass poking through the vole damage on the lawn. Spring is daylight lengthening, dinner seeming ridiculous in broad daylight, snow boots awaiting attic storage.
And spring is about airing my dirty laundry. Well, my clean laundry, at least. Because spring is when the clothesline melts out and we get to resume hanging the laundry outside, the way laundry was meant to hang.
The fact that laundry dries in record time in the Methow is just one of many reasons I love living in this place. The thrill of evaporative drying has not worn off, even after a decade and a half here.
I remember that first load as if it were yesterday, hanging between two Ponderosa pines in our rented house in Edelweiss. We’d just moved from Maine, where due to high humidity laundry frequently remained on the line several days before being deemed dry enough to fold and put away, whereupon the process of mildew would promptly commence, necessitating an eventual rewash.
We moved to the Methow, I washed a load of laundry, and went outside in the spring air to hang it up on the ad hoc clothesline we’d hastily strung between two pines when we moved in. By the time I’d finished hanging the clothes at the end of the line, many of the items that I’d hung first were already dry. (Granted, I had a toddler, so the hanging wasn’t exactly speedy. But still …)
I called my friend in Maine and said, “You’re not going to believe this….” His laundry was still damp on the line, where he’d hung it when we’d moved, a week prior. There’s a possibility it’s still there.
Not long after we’d settled in the Methow, a friend asked me to write about life without a dryer for a Partnership for a Sustainable Methow publication. When “In Defense of the Clothesline” was published, quite a few people were bewildered by the concept of a dryer-free existence. “How do you do it?” they wondered. “Aren’t your clothes stiff and scratchy?” I won’t mention any names, but let’s just say it became patently obvious to me that people like Noah Ashford are apparently partial to a nice fluffy soft bath towel after exiting the shower.
So yeah, we’re all excited to welcome spring back. It makes us look forward to the growing season ahead, to getting out into the hills, and to finding things that were not lost after all, but instead buried under the snow. And for some of us, to finally doing something about that dirty laundry.