After the sun had disappeared behind the trees in the back yard this afternoon, I took a bucketful of clean teatowels out to the clothesline, knowing they'd be dry by dark.
Two of these teatowels, one a souvenir of Hahndorf and the other of Victor Harbor, and both now with the very fine, soft texture of good-quality, long-worn linen, are relics of my mother's early days as a young farmer's wife and are therefore older than I am. A child of the Depression, she took minutely detailed care of everything she owned, which is why so much of it has outlasted her.
At the end of what had turned into a very hot day, a little breeze had come up, bringing with it the merest hint of the coast. It blew straight through the wet teatowels and onto my face. In the bucket there was also one hand-towel with a crocheted edge of a kind it was my mother's habit in her later years to add to these little towels, ostensibly to prevent them fraying but in reality, I think, to keep her arthritic hands moving for as long as she could.
There's a rhythm to hanging out washing. Peg, turn, bend, next item, peg, turn ...
I thought about Hahndorf, home of a beloved friend, and Victor Harbor, where I once saw a whale, and my mother, who lived, it seems, the kind of life that makes people go on thinking about you often and with love, for years and years after you die.
Every now and then I'd turn around and look at the two perfect Roma tomatoes on my first-ever successful tomato plant. They should be ready to pick tomorrow. There's basil growing in a pot under the verandah to go with them, and multigrain sourdough from the market.