Okay, it’s probably fair to say that it’s an obsession. I love seeing clean washing blowing in the wind, and wild flowers, and the sun in the garden, and the green of the grass. Over the Winter it’s necessary to dry your washing on radiators or maidens, indoors, with the heating on. Once or twice, this Winter, I did put my washing out, and went to retrieve it a couple of hours later to find it frozen solid. I even put some washing out when the garden was thick with snow, because I needed clean bedding. However, when Spring comes we can hang clothes and sheets and white fluffy towels outside in the sun. It’s a fact that sunshine is good for washing, it’s salubrious and somehow healthy, not to mention it dries it really well. In the Spring and Summer there is a beautiful satisfaction to working hard all morning; sorting and piling and hauling clothes downstairs, washing them, putting them in a basket and carrying the heavy load outside, then to watch them blowing elegantly on the line, delicate rays of sun shining between them. It is one of the greatest pleasures in life, in my life anyway.
The sight of washing in afternoon sunlight is so incredible to me, and so comforting, that I’m often compelled to photograph it, or write it into a poem, simply because I want to preserve the moment; I need evidence. I feel that if I just tell people how beautiful it is, they won’t believe me. I have a compulsion to fossilise and treasure the aesthetic, the feeling.
I recently wrote the line; ‘White towels blowing in the heather chives,/wild and purple where you planted them’, in a poem about the people in my life that I’ve lost, in particular my Grandad, who planted the chives. I wanted to make the sight that I could see from the kitchen table as I was writing become part of the poem.
This is probably very boring to almost everyone else in the world, but just in case, here are some of these moments.