An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 4, 2016
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucat√°n, Mexico

HANGING CLOTHES TO DRY

clothes drying on bushes

Here I hang washed clothing in a tree to dry. While things are still wet, butterflies alight on them and sup. As the garments dry, they become lighter, and breezes off the little Papaya orchard below the hut make shirts on hangers hooked onto tree limbs twist and turn. The fresh-washed odor mingles with that of moist earth and lush vegetation, and the smell of woodsmoke from my campfire.

During the few times of my life when I've had to dry washed clothing in a clothes drier, I felt cheated of such homey, pretty moments. The drier saved time, but always I knew that whatever it was I was saving time for wasn't as substantial and meaningful as a butterfly on a moist sock, or the fresh-washed fragrance on a peaceful afternoon's breeze.

Also, the fact can't be escaped that clothes driers use a good bit of energy, the production of which caused pollution, sometimes even radioactivity that will be a curse to the biosphere for millennia. That, when the air around us gladly dries our clothes without degrading the environment.

I know that in many places it's frowned upon or even illegal to hang clothes to dry outside -- illegal because of zoning ordinances based on the notion that hanging clothes outside is low class, thus likely to lower local property values. What a perverse way of thinking. What a shame that laws can be made against doing what's ethical, beautiful, and life affirming.

I feel lucky that I live someplace where no one would think to say anything, or even think about it, when I hang my washed clothes from tree limbs in a place where there's a nice breeze smelling fresh and pure.