09252017Mon
Last updateWed, 20 Sep 2017 9am

Inside Mountain View

46th annual festival slated this weekend

46th annual festival slated this weekend

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Food & Wine

New breweries are thriving on the Peninsula

New breweries are thriving on the Peninsula

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Your Health

Local woman makes 155-mile journey to raise money to fight Lyme Disease

Local woman makes 155-mile journey to raise money to fight Lyme Disease

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Your Home

Enchanting decor: Enchanté Boutique Hotel showcases Francophile's flair for design

Enchanting decor: Enchanté Boutique Hotel showcases Francophile's flair for design

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On The Road

A three-pack of fun

A three-pack of fun

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Senior Lifestyles

Resident poet's parody song honors inspiring story

Resident poet's parody song honors inspiring story

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Wedding To Remember

Wedding wear that lies beneath

Wedding wear that lies beneath

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Your Kids

Living Classroom grows lessons for next-gen science standards

Living Classroom grows lessons for next-gen science standards

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Back to School

Changing the conversation on social media

Changing the conversation on social media

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Don't throw in the towel – hang it up in the sunshine

I hang my laundry out to dry, just as my mother did. It seems a waste of sunshine not to. Not everyone enjoys the sight, but I admire the droop of lines heavy with towels and colorful clothes. Sometimes my sheets drag on the ground before I clothes pin them, but the smell of sun-soaked cloth outweighs a smudge or two. The clothes dry stiff and scratchy, but when I hang them wet, I play a part in the water cycle every child learns in school – transpiration, evaporation, condensation and precipitation. It's a pleasure to give moisture back to the air.

When I dress the clothesline, I see images of my family hanging, animated by the wind, and I tell them things I might not if they actually stood in front of me. Spreading waistbands, holes in the knees and sports socks that never come clean get lectures. I clip my children's pants, growing, it seems, with each load, and beg them to slow down. I inspect my husband's shirts for wear and pat him on the back. And I think about the clothesline my mother used in our Midwest garden.

She had the Cadillac model of laundry lines – the circular kind that opened and closed like an umbrella. Her springtime laundry rituals began by propping the pole with a rock. Sometimes, during a high wind, the laundry twirled like a merry-go-round, damp arms and legs dancing, underwear tucked discreetly out of sight. If a breeze caught it from underneath, it lifted off the ground like Dorothy's Kansas house. And if it weren't balanced and had too few socks on one side and too many pairs of jeans on the other, it toppled over altogether.

It takes time to hang clothes and time to let them dry. I don't absolutely need a certain blouse or skirt right away. I can wait. Hanging laundry slows me down and reminds me how simple it is to save energy. And when my family rushes for the dryer, I defend my laundry line and point out that it saves not only our resources but also the Earth's – we all benefit from this old-fashioned approach.

Julia Fuerst is a member of GreenTown Los Altos, a grassroots group that works with the city council to implement ways to reduce the city's carbon footprint.

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