Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Old Clothesline

Rusted metal hook between clothesline and pole.
(Click picture for larger view)
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"Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal." ~ Bishop Robert South (British Clergyman, 1634-1716)
We don't use the clothesline much anymore with the Maytag dryer available and our complete aversion to the high heat index. These days it sees the occasional rug, wet backpack or even tennis shoes after a beach excursion. Dragonflies are big fans; they lightly sit upon the coated metal line sometimes three or four in a row. A spider has woven a web from the pole to the line; you can faintly see the delicate spun silk in the larger view.

Years ago, there was no dryer and my grandmother would hang her sheets and pillowcases out on the line to dry in the hot Illinois sun. They had been washed in her old ringer washing machine and rinsed by hand. She ran the clothes and linens through the big ringer, pushing them with a flat wooden prod through the round rolling pins. On the clothesline they flapped and billowed with the prairie wind. The sheets were stiff when dry; there was no such thing as Downy; but the smell when you held them to your face was wonderfully fresh. It was as if the sheets had captured all the light and warmth of the sun and turned it into the smell of spring rain or of newly mown grass. No dryer sheet, fabric softener or appliance can match this.

Someday the rust will finally consume the metal hook and the clothesline will be no more. Until then it stands, reminding me of times and people I loved, now long gone.

Submission for MacroDay topic metal.

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