Two weeks ago my clothes dryer stopped working, seemingly adding to the intensity of a time of transformation in my life. At first, I figured I would just have to head over to Sears in the next day or so and get one ordered, as just about all of us would do (repair not really being a good option given the age of the thing). But still, I had clothes to dry in that moment, and even an online order would take time to deliver, so I set about hanging things around my house.
When I was a child, we all had clothes lines outside in our back yards. My mother had things up on that line even on sunny winter days, especially sheets. But nowadays, clothes lines are rare in my neck of the woods, even banned in many neighborhoods due to their supposed unsightly appearance. But a couple weeks ago, I sure wished I had one, and I started thinking about ways to put one up in the attic.
Then at some point, I realized the "air" cycle still worked. And it also dawned on me just how few items actually had to go in the dryer, things that would easily dry on a small rack or hanger.
I have since been living very effectively for 2 weeks without a heated dryer, taking care of all our laundry needs, with virtually no impact at all.
We are told to reduce our carbon footprints in this world. Yet we are convinced that we "need" all these conveniences around us, those which make life in the modern world so much easier. The minute something breaks, we run out the door and buy a new one. Appearances take precedence over everything, so very few of us have clothes lines anymore. Yet as children, we didn't even notice clothes hanging on the line. We did not view this sight as unsightly at all. It's all about perception.
How many of us use our dishwashers all the time when we could easily just wash a load of dishes by hand? I used to visit a farm often in the Ozarks where there was no dishwasher, and I realized there that washing dishes can be a very relaxing thing to do. And if we do have a dishwasher, do we really need to use it all the time? Perhaps sometimes, if we have the time on our hands and would enjoy the quiet reflection of a simple manual task, washing the dishes by hand might be the perfect thing.
This is how we change the planet, by being mindful of our choices. I'm truly grateful now that my dryer broke. It taught me an important lesson, a surprise gift in this overall time of transformation. I'm really not sure when I'll replace it. I seem to have released my "need" of it...
Clothes line photo from Wikimedia Commons, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.