It’s April 8th and I woke up to wet snow. My backyard, which was a swampy mess yesterday, was once again adorned this morning by a layer of icy white. Not the pretty fluffy powder that warms my heart in December. The heavy, wet, chunky clumps that tighten my chest because it’s April 8th. Yesterday, I had the windows open and cool air refreshed my home as I thought of spring and not far behind…spring cleaning. Bright sunny days make me want to make my house shine. The grey days of winter mask the dust that rests on the baseboards and cloak the piles in bottomless closets. The instant the clouds give way to the sun and rays of light pour in through the windows there are spotlights on every single crevice that needs tidying, purging and a good scrub.
I have to blink several times to adjust to the light and then I simply must move.
Spring cleaning goes beyond the building in which my family and I live. I also pay attention to the body I inhabit. There is an energy inside me that has been building up all winter (in addition to the few extra pounds from all the chocolate I’ve consumed) and I must unleash it.
So it is generally in the spring that I take up one of my favourite forms of exercise. I run. I am not a runner – I do not measure my run by distance. I do not even run continuously during the 20-30 minutes I am outside. I will jog, walk, sprint and run. My heart pounds in my chest, my lungs hurt, my legs scream and I love it. I do not stop. It is normally when I am running that I do my best thinking. I purge every negative emotion that crept into my soul during the long, dark winter. I remember that life is wonderful. I give thanks for the beauty of my life and for my ability to move. I feel the sweat cleansing my body of the dust I have accumulated over a long winter.
In my mind, this is me:
This is probably more what I look like:
Once I’m back inside I proceed with another favourite, yoga. I love yoga. It’s a lovely way to settle my aching muscles down after a good run. I close my eyes, breathe deeply and smile as I abandon myself into each pose (until my son decides he absolutely needs me urgently, like right now mommy because if he doesn’t get that toy on the top shelf he might pass out from boredom because he has no other toys in the house). Now, back to breathing….
Where envision myself doing yoga because my mat is normally sandwiched between the couch and coffee table and I’m surrounded by toys:
The last part of my spring cleaning routine is to reacquaint myself with my journal. I’m sporadic in pretty much everything I do. I dive into every project with passion and find myself consumed by it, until I get bored or lose the energy to persevere or find another endeavour that enraptures me. And, so is my relationship with my journal. I look back at the journals I’ve accumulated over the years and all of them have huge chunks of time missing. It’s like I disappear for months (a few times for years!) at a time and then I dive back into journalling trying to make up for lost time. In any case, while I’ve been more consistent with journalling of late, it’s still something that calls to me more in the spring.
I’ve enjoyed enough springs to know that my home will always have corners that need a mop, my body will always carry an extra 5-10 pounds and my journal will always have gaps in time. I am also fully aware that the strange energy I feel is simply nature’s way of waking me up after a long (long) sleepy winter and that this energy will surely lead into the lovely, hazy, lazy lull of summer’s heat. Nonetheless, I will enjoy every second of polishing my home, pushing my body to its limits and my pen across the page. It’s how I shake off winter and welcome spring into my life.
What are your spring cleaning rituals?