CLOTHESLINE ART

I saw a painting today — bright colors and geometric figures; a clothesline!

I have been in that office at least twice before. Today, I noticed a new painting — clothes on a clothesline. The colors were bright; the shapes were geometrically symmetrical. The effect was pleasing, interesting, stunning even. I wondered how many people who passed by that wall knew what the object was, and what the object it depicted would be used for. Before we had clothes dryers that plugged into an electrical power source, we had sunshine and breezes to dry the clothes. Depending on the weather, it could be pleasant — or not so much.

For at least two years of my life, I did the laundry on Mondays (everything else being equal) and hung it on a clothesline in the back yard. But long before that, I had experienced clotheslines; I had good memories and some, otherwise.

I once pretended to be a tight-rope walker, and balanced along a clothesline. Then I fell from the wire, plunged into a nearby fence, and hung suspended from a barb in the barbed wire. It must have hurt like everything. I just measured the scar with a ruler; it is one inch long. I can’t remember that pain part; I remember the exhilaration of the few feet of tight-rope walking.

The other clothesline memory came later in my childhood. Our pony Trixie refused to be ridden, but she could be led. I figured out that, if I fastened her rope lead to the clothesline, it would slide up and down the clothesline — as if she were, in fact, being led. Then I could sit on her back, and enjoy the pretend ride. The problem came when I was called to the house, slid off her back, and left Trixie fastened to the clothesline. She got tired or bored or anxious, and tried to get back to her pasture. She pulled the clothesline and at least one clothesline pole down during her escape. I got in a lot of trouble, and had to stand in the “naughty corner” for what seemed like a long time.

Today, when I saw the painting, I thought of those days and of the child-me and the now-me — the now-me, not-so-different from the tight-rope walker and the horseback sitter.