Seasonal Changes and Cleaning

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has the power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

-Elonora Duse
More on my obsession with trees at a later point.

It is almost officially springtime. According to our tree in the front, however, it’s already upon us. Every year, I look forward to the day I pull into the driveway and wonder when the heck it got so green. This year, my mom pointed out the first green leaves starting to appear, slightly upsetting the fun I have discovering it and marveling at it all at once. Despite plenty of trees in southern California being evergreens, and the fact that leaves often don’t change color here until December, therefore losing them in January, it’s still exciting. Pretty soon birds will be building a nest on our back patio, caterpillars will start appearing on the milkweed and fennel, and the bees will be busy pollinating the blossoms on our orange tree, which produces the best fresh squeezed juice on the planet. I look forward to spring every year. The green, the flowers, the colors filling up stores, the warm sun, the longer days, it all makes me giddy. Rather than feeling the need to rest and reflect, as I do in the fall, spring makes me want to dream and do. There are weeds to be pulled, seeds to be planted, recipes to be made, closets to be filled with bright colors and shorter sleeves, and living spaces to be decluttered giving the sun a welcoming spot to land.

There’s something about cleaning that is closely related to change for me. I remember frantically purging or tidying up to give my brain space to think clearly or myself room to grow into a new phase. I can recall plenty of times when cleaning was prompted by a feeling of no longer being the person I was a week ago or even the night before. Cleaning has a way of prepping us for a new season or organizing our current life to reflect what we want in the future. If you haven’t watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, I definitely suggest you do so. Of course, I was the kid who organized pens at Michael’s while my mom shopped, alphabetized anything when I got the chance, and took any opportunity to color code something. Nonetheless, I was hooked and amazed at the transformations that took place, even beyond cleaning. Some may think it’s silly, but I find her method of keeping what sparks joy to be refreshing. The idea is to hold each item and determine whether or not it ignites an elated feeling. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Do people still say that? Anyway, it can be quite surprising that some items really do have the ability to put a big smile on your face. I went through my clothes, books, puzzles, and started working on magazines recently. I’m sure there are still things that don’t entirely spark joy, but those will probably leave at some point in the future. When it comes to books, though, it’s more about what you want in your future, I discovered that displaying my favorite types of books has actually increased my desire to read. Rather than my religious or philosophical books, which aren’t quick and easy reads, being out, I opted to keep my cookbooks, nature books, and autobiographies on the open shelves. It’s a small change, but I feel a difference. My mom also went through plenty of her things and reworked one of her bookcases, as well. Despite the items not being mine, I feel happy every time I look at it because I can sense the meaning behind it. Give it a try; I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Her book, if it’s not sold out, is linked here.

In a season where I experience the most joy and inspiration, I feel the need to surround myself with it even more so. Spring has a way of getting me back in touch with who I am at my core. Lately, I’ve been working on getting the garden ready, along with dreaming up recipes, and compiling a list of books I want to read when the work is done. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding than a good meal, a long shower, and relaxation you truly deserve after a productive day of hard work. I crave more days like that and look forward to the ones ahead where I busy myself with preparing my spaces for the opportunity to fully enjoy them and bask in the feeling of a job well done. I hope there’s a time that makes you come alive and that you appreciate to its fullest.

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.”

-Margaret Thatcher

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