Monday, March 22, 2010

Official Beginning of Spring

Blossoms, sunshine, the outdoors. Pollen, dusty closets, and allergies. This weekend kicked off the official start of the spring season, and with it the proverbial vernal resolutions known as “Spring Cleaning.” You may wonder to yourself why spring starts on one day versus another, something to do with a groundhog perhaps? Not quite. The Vernal or Spring Equinox (usually around March 20-22 annually) marks the point in the year when a day has exactly 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light. As spring heads towards summer the days will continue to inevitably grow longer and longer in terms of daylight hours. The groundhog it turns out doesn’t have much control one way or the other regardless of when or whether he sees his shadow or not.

So I guess somebody somewhere at some point decided this would be a good time of year to clean out all the winter junk accumulated since Christmas. I for one usually fail to feel any of the supposed thaw of my wintry procrastination and have decided to try to come up with some helpful tips (or in my case self-tricks) in order to begin that task list of spring reorganization.

They say to take it one day at a time (as though there is any other way) and to basically set yourself one task a day, the idea being that over the course of several weeks you should accomplish your goals. I’ve tried doing this with all the necessary yard work my garden will require this year. This weekend I started trimming bushes and shrubs, but after hours of labor it hardly looked like I’d done anything at all. We’ll see how this progresses in the coming weeks as spring planting time for my garden fast approaches.

Another helpful bit of wisdom some friends and family have shared with me revolves around the idea of helpers. It’s okay to ask for help, just be willing to lend someone else a hand when they need it. For instance, if you have a big project that might take you days by yourself, invite some willing helpers over one Saturday or Sunday and get it all done together. My neighbors last year did this and cooked a big barbeque for all their friends and family that came over to help them clean the house and yard. Effective, and also a community builder.

The final tip I learned actually came from something I heard from Deepak Chopra. He said that in modern society we often collect and buy far more things than we need and often feel weighed down by it all. He suggests that for every one item you purchase, receive or bring into your home; make sure that one item already within your household must go out. In other words if you get a new blender from your aunt this year, donate that old toaster in the garage. Or if you buy yourself a new pair of jeans, sell that extra table and chairs taking up space in the garage.

Obviously, all of these tasks are easier said than done, but I find that springtime can be a much more effective time for resolutions than New Years. The weather is nicer, our moods are improving, and it just feels like there’s more possibility in their air for reordering our lives for the better. Remember, you don’t have to change the world (at least not overnight), just start with yourself. One little step at a time.


  1. BTW, The Fall or Autumnal Equinox is the same as the Vernal Equinox only the days get progressively short afterwards.

  2. My assumption was always that in older times, doing serious cleaning in the winter was made more difficult by that season tending to be colder and wetter. When it's cold and wet, you probably don't want to open windows to air out the house. And when you aren't airing out the house, you probably don't want to sweep and kick up dust. And along with the wetness probably came muddy boots.

    After a season of being cooped up without much serious cleaning, I can see it as being something that most everyone did as soon as the weather started getting a bit warmer and drier.

    But that's just my thought... : )

  3. Love the picture! Spring is a wonderful's also when my allergies go insane. :p

  4. Just live with wood heat for a winter to understand why we have "spring" cleaning. Have you see how much soot collects on the inside walls? It's insane! (Cultural note: I think it's an American and maybe frontier thing. Am I right?)

    So glad to see that you're still doing well for yourself, ol' buddy.

  5. Hey Jen,
    Long time no see:) And your logical deduction on spring cleaning makes sense to me:)