Today I hung laundry outside for the first time this year. I walked easily across the patches of remnant snow down to the clothesline strung between two old aspens beside the garden, the forty-year-old laundry basket on my hip, sheets and pillowcases tangled inside. The juncos are cleaning up under the birdfeeder, their rattling calls a counterpoint to the chickadees. Robins sing their early morning song and across the road a Pacific wren jubilates. Woodpeckers hammer anything tin they can find and the flickers are back. A varied thrush chimes down in the gully. Driftwood Creek is so loud with snowmelt we can hear it when we open the bedroom window at night.
The only sounds absent are the shrieks of jays, now quiet in their hidden nests.
The only thing better than hanging out the laundry this time of year is bringing it back in. Some pleasures don’t change.
a love poem for lynn from the lumsden laundromat (1998)
I want to fold our laundry
warmed in the sun
softened in the wind
gather billowing shirts
press sleeves together
across cotton breasts
smooth creases from warm sheets
to fragrant parcels
in the sweet chambers of your heart