Laundry

 

Laundry

By Kim Delmar Cory
 
Published in Lansing Metropolitan Woman magazine 1990's

        I’m giving my children a gift today. It doesn’t come from Kmart, Hudson’s, or any other store. It cost nothing but time. It won’t be wrapped. And my children will cherish it all their lives as a sweet childhood memory.

    I’m hanging their laundry outdoor today to dry.

    Frost crunches under my boots. I lug a heaping woven wicker basket out behind the garage where my clotheslines are strung.

    Deep breath. Divine morning air. Delicate. Newborn. Shaking out a twisted sheet, my breath puffs cloudlike. A squeaking back door across the way interrupts deafening bird chatter. Dawn’s hush. A sudden stillness.

    I notice a tiny spider’s overnight handiwork within a wooden clothespin as it brushes my arm. I’ll skip that clothespin. Out of respect for such an awesome accomplishment. 

    A doughy blush of pink and purple outlines the horizon. A timeless sky. The same sky a farmer’s wife witnessed a hundred years ago as she reached to hang laundry at daybreak. On this same land. Our Maple and fir trees undoubtedly reached her knees then. Her calico skirt hem, dampened to a darker hue, rustling with her every move as she shook out a twisted sheet at dawn. 

    Thoughts of her daily routine invaded her mind: egg gathering, bread baking, vegetable gardening.

    And her children slept in crisp, sun-warmed, breeze-scented sheets that night.

    My feet are wet. Sheets dry fastest, so they must hang close to the garage where shade reigns. Blue jeans, sweatshirts and such hang where the sun will bless them the longest. 

    With a sigh, I carry my empty basket towards the house and ponder my daily routine: lunches to pack, a morning budget meeting, afternoon appointments. Reality beckons.

    Until bedtime.

    When my children will sleep in crisp, sun-warmed, breeze-scented sheets.

    A timeless cycle of love; my gift to them.