The Therapy of the Clothesline

Reader Contribution by Fala Burnette and Wolf Branch Homestead

It’s a bright Monday afternoon, and I am standing outside with a basket full of washclothes and towels ready to be dried. As I begin to hang everything up, a big smile spreads across my face, and you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me that this past week was one of the most stressful times I have ever faced. At this one particular moment, all of the problems seem to simply fade away, and good memories flood my mind and bring me therapy while I hang my laundry on the clothesline.

As I have mentioned in past articles, I grew up in a large city, and even with all the modern comforts I found myself constantly worried or sad at every turn. The most relaxing place in the whole world in my mind, however, was being by my Grandmother’s side on her farm. My place of peace didn’t have city water, central heat/air, or even a grocery store for at least thirty miles. On this farm, I drank water from a well, enjoyed a box fan pulling air through a screen door, and bringing in logs with every trip for the wood stove in Winter. I loved being there and harvesting veggies from the garden,  drinking goat’s milk, and most of all helping my Grandma hang clothes on the line.

Today, when I find myself in a troublesome moment of worry or depression, I pray for God to bring a sunny day so I can take my basket outside and feel as close as I possibly can to the woman that inspired my whole way of living today. As I hang the laundry, I think of the massive remains of an Oak tree that part of her line connected to. When I return later in the day to collect it all and go back inside, I remember the delicate race my cousin and I would have to gather the laundry and return it to our Grandma.

My Grandmother has been gone for five years now, and it was one of the most painful moments of my life. I miss her every moment, but I am so grateful for the lessons she taught me along the way. One of the things that she taught through a wordless example was just what I wanted to share- simplicity can be therapeutic. All I can do is paint a picture of these days for you, to show that life is about the simple moments with the ones you love. You don’t have to be rich or have everything going great for you in order to be able to smile and just enjoy life! It’s all about having the right attitude, and keeping your head up while you focus on the good times and remember the folks who influenced you in a positive way.

The world is becoming more and more confusing, and it’s hard to go a day without a bit of bad news or stress. When those moments come my way, I find great therapy outdoors at that clothesline. Maybe you prefer the dryer, but it’s all about finding a moment that brings you peace. When you find something good that brings a smile to your face and makes you happy, hold tight to that.

Fala Burnette is a homesteader with her husband at Wolf Branch Homestead in Alabama. This year, they have raised a large crop of heirloom Hastings’ Prolific corn that they are selling seed from, along with making their own cornmeal. They have just finished building a small cabin from lumber they have milled themselves. Along with breeding Khaki Campbell ducks, they are going to be trapping for furs this Winter. Read all of Fala’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


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