Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Great Equalizer

I've loved traveling the past fews months and haven't forgotten how fortunate we are to be in Germany - all together (well, except for Jack who has literally been transferred to Siberia - he reports that it's still quite cold "in the middle of nowhere").  Anyway, ...

We have been to some truly remarkable locations, some quite famous and others less so - but all worth the trip.  The train through the Alps - mercy - took my breath away.  Even now when I remember it in my mind, I recall the beauty and grandeur of it all.  People plan and dream for years to visit the places we've seen over the past few months: Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Zurich, and this weekend we'll be in Munich.

Here's the thing... in every place we've traveled I've been reminded that we're all pretty much the same.  Without exception, I see evidence of families working hard and doing the best they can to take care of life on life's term.  It is my observation that laundry drying on the balcony is the great equalizer.  

I don't know why I'm fascinated with laundry and the absolutely creative and ingenious systems we've developed to wash and dry our clothes, linens, etc.  I remember being pregnant with our youngest and living in Florida.  The electric dryer was broken; we had no money to fix it, but the Air Force housing office gave us two free umbrella-type clotheslines.  I loved those things.  Perhaps it reminded me of those summer afternoons helping my grandmother hang laundry out on her line.  We'd talk, I hand up clothespins, and so much was simple.

This is one of the views outside my living room window in Heidelberg, Germany.

Took this shot as we left Milan, Italy.  

Below, this snapshot was taken just outside the Museu Picasso in Barcelona.  I was struck by two things at the same time:  1.  How could anyone hang their undies outside the museum?!   2.  Ohmygosh - how ingenious to hang a sheet of plastic over the drying clothes... in case of rain.

These photographs seem to capture some of the dissonance - the impressive old-world architecture of a city that was established 700 years ago ... and the sheets out on the line.

Saw this handy expanding version of line drying in Barcelona, Spain.  I'd love one of these!

Same style - just empty.

As we traveled into Barcelona, I noticed that many clotheslines strung across the patio were typically connected on one end to the satellite dish.  When given a choice between an automatic dryer or television with hundreds of channels ...

I learn so much traveling with my people and discovering small ways in which we're more alike than different is where it's at.


  1. I love, love, love this post! You do such a fantastic job of linking all the places you've seen--and the humanity within each of us. In our global society where we're too often pitted nation against nation, I love the way you've connected us. Great imagery.

  2. Those are great pictures of laundry... I think it made me even that much more grateful for a washer and dryer!! I love that they had satellite but no washer and dryer :)