Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Clothes Waving In The Wind

Contrary to the title of this post, I am not running sky clad across the prairie with my garments streaming behind me. But I got your attention didn't I? What I'm actually referring to is hanging laundry on the clothes line. I know, how mundane is that? Every thing is relative I suppose, pinning clothes on the line in bright Alberta sunlight with the blue cup of the endless firmament above me turned out to be a spiritual thing. Who knew? I lugged a load of sheets out to hang up to dry. They smell so much nicer when they dry in the prairie wind. While I threw the material over the line the sun shone on my garden which is just behind the clothes line and I caught the orange of day lily, the purple and green of chives and the brilliant magenta of painted daisies. The honey bees wrangled with the bumble bees for the best spots to drink nectar while the heavy buds of the peonies nodded in the breeze. It is a miracle how those tiny ants stay stuck to the bouncing buds without getting hurled off. I straightened the sheet and plucked clothes pins off the hem of my sleeve to secure the material to the line. The stiff breeze bellied the sheet while I attempted to pin it in place, the ends snapped wetly in their attempt to escape and follow the wind over the ten foot high caragana wind break. I emerged the victor and reached for the next victim, I mean sheet. I stood for a moment with the sun warm on my face, the wind swirling my hair in my eyes, holding the wet sheet in my arms. The magpies gossiped loudly in the maze of moving caragana branches, this year's babies now fledged and clumsily attempting to catch the updraft and land on the roof of the barn. This even involved much loud screaming by the rest of the fledglings, whether it was encouragement or derision, is hard to say. Returning to my task, I wrestled the sheet onto the line and pinned it securely while the hot dry prairie wind attempted to steal it.
One of the Swainson's Hawks that nest across the road hung on the wind current above me, head turned to fix me with that steely gaze. It lingered for a moment and then soared to land on the top of the hydro pole where it sits every morning. It must be a good place to survey the gopher city that exists in my pasture. The barn swallows are raising a family in the rafters of the barn again this year and zip in and out oblivious to the huge raptor perched close by. Soon there will be tiny heads poking out of the nest and then they babies will learn to fly and perch themselves on the old wires in the barn all in a line.
Such treasures are mine, and I pause to give thanks that I have the time to see these wonders with my heart and my eyes. So many things we take for granted in our modern lives, the life giving warmth of the sun, the movements of the wind, the rush of water from out taps. Take a moment to think how wonderful the return of the warmth of the sun is after the long dark days of winter, lit by moonlight on frozen snow. How the thawing of the earth and the first sprouts of green were a life giving miracle after a winter of dried provision gathered the previous summer. Water at the turn of a tap is a great boon, imagine having to carry any water you required from the stream or well. Five gallon pails of water are heavy and when you are doing a wash or filling a bath it would take a few trips. Then, there is the issue of hot water, how precious it is when you have to heat each gallon over an open fire, something not to be used frivolously. Without the bounty of the natural world mankind could not flourish and I am reminded constantly to express my gratitude and thanks to the wonders that surround me. Each time I turn the tap and water spurts forth I say thank you. I have been without water and it is truly a desolate feeling. When I was young our well ran dry each summer and even during the rest of the year we were very careful with it. Baths were less than two inches in the bottom of the tub and showers were short.
I finish pegging the last sheet to the line, laugh one more time at the antics of the magpies and call a greeting to the hawk who lifts off the pole and drifts on the wind toward the gopher city to the north of the barn. I turn to go back in the house with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. All this from hanging a load of laundry. I am truly blessed. May your world be filled with light and love.

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