Slowly they hang, my hands remembering the hands of all of the women before me. My birthright, my legacy, my past. I stand breathing deeply of the gentle breeze drifting off of clean shirts, pants and towels. This is the part I love the best, as the wet clothes are lovingly hung to dry. As I show my children that it is alright to take your time, it is important. I use these moments, alone with my thoughts, alone with my clothes, and the clothes of my family, to reflect on the day. I think of things I need to do, things I need to make, ways to stretch a dollar, and sometimes I don’t think at all and just let my hands do the work that they knew how to do already.
Later I stand poised by the line of freshly dried clothes. I am ready to take them off of the clothesline. I am ready to fold them, soothingly, tenderly while my children play in the yard nearby. I stand, and for a moment watch the breeze lift a shirt as it lovingly caresses the jeans on the next line. Then I set to work, shaking the towels, and folding them carefully. This used to be the hardest part, when I used my dryer for all of the clothes, folding monotony. Now folding is just part of the slow process of taking them off of the line. Now it is easy and calming to me. My hands fold without thought and once again I remember all of the women before me.