Spring on the Line, 2016

This time of year, if you ask a Vineyarder to list the months in order, they’re likely to start off “January, February, March, March, March, June . . .”

In the fall it goes “. . . September, October, November, November, November . . .”

This might give one the impression that the four Vineyard seasons are winter, March, summer, November, but this is not true. It’s actually July and August that seem to go on forever, but that’s not true either.

What’s true is that the months segue into each other and each season steps forward and back, forward and back, before it settles in, and no sooner does it seem settled in for good that the next season steps forward and the dance continues.

I do my laundry at the Airport Laundromat roughly every three weeks then hang it out on the line at home. (Why three weeks? Because that’s when I run out of clean underwear.) This is how I chart the changing of the seasons. People have been bitching more than usual this year about spring’s slow arrival, but the laundry line says that spring is pretty much on schedule.

Mitts on left, hat on right

Mitts on left, hat on right

The wash I did last Thursday included not only the last of the winter’s longjohns but also the fuzzy cap and fleece smoker’s mitts that I haven’t worn in several weeks.

It also included two long-sleeved T-shirts and, get this, the first short-sleeved T of the season. This particular T is the newest addition to the out-of-control T-shirt collection that I keep swearing I’m not going to add to. I acquired this one with a donation to Raise Hell!, a documentary that’s being made about the late, great journalist Molly Ivins. More about Molly and the film here. Since the T-shirt arrived in November November November, this was the first time I’d worn it.

20160428 molly shirtHere’s the Molly T-shirt right side up. This looks a little weird because the wind has to be blowing a lot harder than it was to make shirts stand straight up on the line, and if it were blowing that hard, I wouldn’t be doing laundry.

Last Thursday was a perfect drying day. It was sunny all morning, and there was just enough breeze to keep the laundry moving, but not enough to blow socks and undies off the drying rack on my deck. By the time the clouds started rolling in around 2 in the afternoon, everything was dry and ready to bring in.

Here’s almost the whole line. Molly and a pair of jeans are out of sight on the right. Three more pairs of jeans are out of sight on the left. Note that there are only three pairs of longjohns, and no sweaters. Spring really is here.

20160428 whole line


About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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8 Responses to Spring on the Line, 2016

  1. Wow…I’m really coasting on that March March March sky….


    • It’s pretty March March March here right now too. However, the shad bushes are starting to bloom in the woods, a little later than usual, I think. I call them ghost flowers — small specks of white floating in the austere woods just before the oak trees leaf out in earnest.


  2. Reading with interest as I am heading to Maine for a week to reopen our little cabin. Wondering if I shouldn’t pack warmer clothes…
    There, I also use the local laundromat and often dry the clothes on a line outside. I grew up this way in France and my mom never bought a dryer. We even had a goat who loved chewing on the sheets! We had to be extra careful or she would have eaten everything she could reach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is fairly nippy out there still, and Martha’s Vineyard is warmer than northern New England. The longer days do make a difference, though. I was wearing shorts about 10 days ago, but then it got chilly again.

      Winter before this past one, we had such a long string of cold (20F and below) days that I actually used the laundromat dryers once to start the heavier clothes (like jeans) drying. Everything would have frozen solid on the line. As it was, I hung everything indoors. It took longer, like 24 hours, but everything did dry.


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