The sun, barely ripe on the bay’s horizon, offers the promise of warmth later in the day. The morning is still cool with a hint—an afterthought, really—of remaining mist. Hugging oneself in the muted hush of dawn’s solitude, we revel in the bone-deep pleasure of having the porch almost to ourself. The only other occupant are clothesline thoughts that open their souls—slowly—as mussels do when steamed.
I’m struck by the clarity with which my dear friend, Canadian artist Terrill Welch has captured the moment in Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island, a 36 x 36 inch oil on canvas painting that offers a private view where we inhale the glory of brine-tanged air, take in the contours of the land and distant bay, and if we’re willing, allow nostalgia to sweep through us, carried by a wave of retrospection.
Perfectly set at arm’s reach, the pulley allows us to retrieve memories, much like scenes in a play. Some evocative and positive, soaked in the freshness of purifying sunlight; others flap and snap in the gust of pre-storm turbulence. Seasoned, those of us who’ve lived any life know that reminiscing is often a bittersweet experience.
The world is chaotic. The serene setting in Breezy Bay Morning on Saturna Island offers a gentle porch view.
Every clothesline tells a story—even the one in our mind’s eye. What’s yours?
Very nice post, Laurie–and painting, too. I love the clothesline analogy–the pulley retrieving memories and then sending them back to air a bit. 🙂 I actually have a porch memory though. We used to visit a B&B every summer in Ocean City, NJ. Often my husband and I and our two girls were the only guests, and we used to take over the porch. In the early morning before breakfast, my husband and I would sit there with our coffee. Later in the day and in the evening, we’d sit there with our girls. It was wonderful.
Merrill — I love the beautiful word picture you painted for your porch memory! 🙂
To your lovely text and painting, I will add some audio: Glen Campbell’s Gentle on My Mind: “It’s knowing that your door is always open and our path is free to walk.”
The images of the front porch and clothes line evoke images in my own mind: Counting cars with my sisters on the front porch on a Saturday evening along Anchor Road, and the clothes line: sun-saturated laundry in summer, and super stiff frozen in winter.
Perfect post for this warm spring day. What a gift to your readers!
Marian — “Gentle on my Mind,” a beautiful addition! And having recently seen photos of you and your sisters enjoying a grand adventure, I especially like your front porch reminiscing 🙂
Always loved that song! Perfect, Marian!
Oh, this is pretty much the name of my story! Today, my clothesline tells the story of rain and spring and changes in plans, but anticipating my son’s arrival home from college. This promises for lots of laundry! xoxoxoS
Suzi — I knew you’d resonate with this particular post! Just as I know you’ll have a wonderful time during your son’s homecoming (and even doing his laundry)… 🙂
I love Terrill’s lovely charming painting. “Memories light the corners of my mind..” the song says, Misty colored memories…
are the memories are story or is our story still unfolding at the present moment.
Jeff — Another beautiful addition: “Memories light the corners of my mind…” And you’re absolutely right, our story is still unfolding in this very moment 🙂
I love Terrill’s work and like I have told her more than once, it Moves, it has Life, and I can Feel it happening! The clothes dancing on the line gives a sense of gaietyy to the other-wise mundane Monday morning sight. And Yes! I wish I were there!
Sandi — “It MOVES, has LIFE, and viewers can FEEL it.” A perfect descriptor for the powerful impact of Terrill’s artwork!
That’s a lovely painting: very serene. My clothesline tells the story of the week’s work and our relaxing weekends and travels. 🙂
Fatimasaysell — Always on the move, I think of your clothesline as a colorful “Gypsy clothesline.” 🙂
LOL! I suppose you are right!
Reblogged this on Creative Potager and commented:
Sometimes my paintngs receive special gifts that are all their own…
Thanks for your lovely words and painting. I was sitting there with you, feeling the breeze against my skin and watching the clothes flapping and snapping with a sudden gust. I’ve always been fascinated by clothes lines. Once did a series of photos of them. They are filled with stories and life.
Joan — I’m absolutely confident that your memoir will contain some of those clothesline memories 🙂
Your post certainly brought me right to your porch with clothesline moment. Your writing beautifully descriptive.Thanks Laurie! Terrill Welch’s painting so evocative!
We didn’t have a porch at home nor do I have a sharp memory of any porch on vacation.
I do remember my mom when I was a child hanging clothes on the line in the back of our house.The line full of diapers or clothes flapping in the wind and sun.The fresh smell of the outdoors as we would help mom take down and fold the items.
Yes there were also days where we raced the oncoming rain as well. And of course I do remember the sometimes squeaky but always vital pulley.
Sadly the “romance” of the moment is greater in retrospect. Although there are many times I wish I could have an outdoor line. Would you believe many places outlaw them?
Audrey — I love the beautiful word picture you painted: “Yes there were also days where we raced the oncoming rain as well. And of course I do remember the sometimes squeaky but always vital pulley.” Oh, I love it! Thank you for sharing your memories 🙂
Such a lovely painting, it brings back memories of the fragrance of sun-dried sheets, pant stretchers encased in denim, frozen diapers in frigid winters and those summer breezes. My youth.
Carol — Oh my gosh, I’d completely forgotten about pant stretchers! Thank you for jogging that clothesline memory 🙂
Laurie what a gift you have given this painting – thank you! I am sipping my first cup of coffee and enjoying the pleasant breeze of comments appearing gently in your post. Have a wonderful day and thank you to everyone for their kind words. A real bounty of appreciation from some of you that I know and others that are new acquaintances.
I have had clotheslines most of my life and I think it is sad and even maybe a bit silly that in some places they are banned. I do like that my line is now on a covered porch so no more racing the rain shower to get the clothes in. The freshness ahhhh!
Terrill — It’s been my distinct pleasure to showcase a piece of your work. I knew, without a doubt, that people who read my blog would have a special appreciation for the beauty you bring to the world. Thank you.
Ahh… a beautiful painting. Thank you so much for sharing the tranquil moment. 🙂
Amy — I’m so glad you enjoyed Terrill’s Breezy Bay Morning. Thank you for letting me know 🙂
Clotheslines, wafting breezes, iced tea, and mosquitoes. They all merge in my mind. Then, I remember Kazakhstan, where we hung our laundry on a clothesline on an open, covered porch all year round. Clothes can dry even at 30 below! Who knew?
Janet — Oh how fun (except for the mosquitoes).
In the Highlands of Scotland where there’s only three types of weather (1. it’s about to rain. 2. It’s raining. 3. It just finished raining), they use clotheslines, too. Even with all that wet, it’s rare for someone to use a dryer 🙂
Ooh. The picture of those yellow flowers drew me in. I have the same in my front yard. Do you know the name of these perennials? I don’t remember their name. I only know that they are supposed to keep rabbits out of your garden and I only remember that because my cousin Anne had rabbits trying to take over her garden.
Sharon — I wish I knew, but unfortunately I don’t. They’re everywhere here in Boise, adding vivid splashes of bright yellow wherever you look! 🙂
What’s my clothesline story?…
I remember yellow, summer light bathing my mom and I as she hung the wash. We shared secrets and she taught me the wisdom of our gender.
I’ve often admired this painting. Thank you for sharing it on your blog this morning. : )
Leanne — I love that your mom taught you the wisdom of our gender 🙂
Just perfect! Thanks for this writing prompt. I’m going to save it for a future post with a ping back. I started an Ekphrastic writing last winter from a painting with 2 dresses hanging on 2 different lines in a city scape. I like this image even better and your writing and all the responses. I can use the activity of haning clothes on a line in a longer piece I’m writing, too, Jut perfiect!
Sky Blue Daze — I’m glad this post and Terrill Welch’s painting, BREEZY BAY MORNING, resonated so well with you! Thank you for letting me know 🙂
Gorgeous painting and it has a familiar feel to it, even if I’ve never had a porch and living in a city when I was a child, clotheslines were a rather humdrum affair (although as I child I’d make up stories and hide among the sheets). Thanks for the inspiration.
Olga — I love that you “made up stories and hid among the sheets” hanging on the clothesline as a child 🙂
Wet clothes go in the drier.
Nothing is going out there to block our view 😉
Ted — Having enjoyed photographs of your breathtaking view, I’d use the dryer too! 🙂
I have often read Terrill’s comments on your blog Laurie but I had no idea of her genius.
Her painting give vibrant life and colour to simplicity …i really love them . Of course , it has to said everyone that contributes on a Tues is a genius, in their own unique way, because we wouldn’t be following you would we ..he he .
I have the most delightful washing line in my 3/4 house garden . It’s high up and tied between a hedgerow of May , other wild shrubs and an oak tree. Right now it is sunny and blustery and our clothes are doing a toddlers dance as we speak .
Cherry — I love the vibrant word picture you painted of your own laundry line. I can see it in my mind’s eye in your 3/4 house garden, high up and tied between a hedgerow of May, other wild shrubs, and an oak tree. The sun is shining, the wind is blustering, and your clothes are dancing like gleeful toddlers. I love it! 🙂
Beautiful painting, beautiful words. They spoke to my spirit. Love her work and yours, Laurie.
Dorothy — I’m glad this post resonated with you. Thank you for letting me know 🙂
I usta use the clothes line at the apartment complex I lived in. But the next day several people were wearing the same t-shirts I hung up. How do people suddenly have the same t-shirts I have? I mean had.
Carl — I think there’s a cartoon in there, somewhere! 🙂
I’m visiting family in Pennsylvania this week, Laurie. On one morning walk I strolled past an Old Order Mennonite farm when the colorful wash was on the line. Pants, shirts, and dresses fluttered in the breeze like a large tropical bird flapping its wings. Something very comforting in the sight.
Shirley — “…like a large tropical bird flapping its wings.” I love it! 🙂
There’s so much life in that painting, sounds, smells, peaceful joy. Reminds me of my childhood’s sun purified, and by time little faded, clothes. They smelled so good. Like all natural fragrances of the universe released at the same time 🙂 Soul opening post Laurie!
Tiny – Ohhhhh, I love the gorgeous word picture you painted here! 🙂
Wow, Terrill’s painting is magnificent. Al the clotheslines of the past told many story, but we are all dried up now, you know as in those super-convenient home dryers!! hahaha!!
Great post, with the loveliest visual tie in of all!! 🙂
Sam – I trust that you and yours are enjoying a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. I suspect that not having to hang clothes on the line (or take them back down again) gives you a tad more time to watch movies. YAY to those of us who rely on your reviews to feed their must-see list 🙂
Thank you for this lovely reflection and painting , Laurie, it connected me with my own clothesline story, a tradition in my Italian family. If rain is forecasted on your wedding day, you hang rosary beads on the clothesline in the morning. Amazing how often the sun came out!
Kathy — Oh my gosh, how darned cool is that?! 🙂
Laurie, Do you then have a favorite impressionist painter?
CONTEMPORARY — In addition to Terrill Welch, I’m fond of Heidi Malott’s work
CLASSIC — My heart belongs to Claude Monet
Beautiful, beautiful piece! The colors allow me to feel the dampness of the bay and slightly salty smell. I was trying to recall a clothesline story, but all I could think of were the empty lines. I grew up on a few navy bases in military housing and there were quite a few lines or tall posts with a square of lines on top, but they were always hauntingly empty. Reminders of a past we didn’t know.
Lana — I love your turn of phrase, “hauntingly empty.” 🙂