The Answer is Blowin’ in the Wind

Sheets billowing on clothesline

Man Ray, The Flying Dutchman

I think this one is my favorite of all from my latest trip to the Met.

What is it about sheets in the wind? I remember playing underneath the clothesline, or among the rows, as a kid – nothing better. And laying on the bed while my mom made it up on top of me . . . I asked her to lift up the top sheet again and again because I loved the sensation of the air billowing around me, and the breathtaking beauty of the sheet turning into a dome above me . . . suddenly I was in a huge space, which got increasingly cozy as the sheet settled delicately around me.

I have (used to have, until my computer was stolen) a gorgeous photo of sheets on a line, very similar to this painting, that I took in Erice, Sicily years ago. And I think I remember a Caillebotte painting of sheets on a line as well.

Why do we love sheets in the wind? Is it because they make the air visible? I enjoy watching the wind playing with flags, leaves, falling rain, people’s hair . . . but nothing comes close to sheets.