Tuesday, January 17, 2012
These oak leaves were fighting hard to hang on the other morning. It was about zero. I was sitting in my truck in Deering Oaks, but I was really a ways away. I was thinking about freezing winter days like this when Mom hung out the laundry, even though the load would be hard pressed to dry, let alone thaw. Often after school when I flew through the door, she'd say, "Go grab the laundry on the line for me." This loyal son would do just that, and head out through the shed off the kitchen. On those bitterly cold, wind-blown days, I knew in advance what I faced. It took me a good five minutes attempting to corral the batch of grotesquely frozen long underwear caught in mid-stride, malformed long sleeved dressed shirts and blouses with arms dead still and yet intertwined for hours and countless pairs of socks iced over. I'd lug them in to the woodstove-heated kitchen and bury my face in the sweet laundry aroma mixed with ice. I remember kissing my shirts and taking in all that was fresh-washed clothes and that icy coolness, so soothing to my lips. For a few fleeting moments, each time I was asked to bring in our frozen apparel, I was in love with the laundry.