Getting a fresh spring start

by - Thursday, March 21, 2013

Winter has been long and cruel. With the skies still glowering and frost on the windshield, it's hard to imagine that spring is really on its way, but, in the words that A.A. Milne once attributed to a daffodil pushing through the snow, "Winter is dead." That saffron-headed flower knew that even though the ground was still frozen, spring really was right around the corner.

The last few weeks of winter can seem the longest. The holidays are past, the weather is uninviting; it's hard not to give into a darkening mood. In Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy wrote, "Spring is the time of plans and projects." If you're feeling down in the dumps waiting for that long-promised season, here are a few plans and projects that can speed it on its way - if not outside, at least in your heart and in your home.

  1. Bring in the spring! Bring the season into your home with bright, potted flowers. Mums and miniature roses are almost always available at the local market. Buy several pots of each and sprinkle them around your house. You can also force bulbs such as narcissus or tulips. Martha Stewart offers an excellent tutorial on the subject.
  2. Strengthen your resolve. Late winter is the perfect time to focus on those New Year's resolutions. The distractions and rich foods of the holidays are behind us. If physical fitness was on your to-do list, now is the perfect time for weight loss. The lengthening hours of sunlight can help speed up your metabolism, and the supermarket will soon be displaying summer's bounty of healthy fruits and vegetables. Lush, yummy California strawberries, for instance, rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, start showing up in the grocery store as early as February. And it's always easier to get moving when summer sports beckon.
  3. Line your nest. Now more than ever your home needs a fresh, new look. And it doesn't have to break the bank, either. Bring out the pretty summer linens, even if it's still a little cold. Do your spring cleaning. Shake the dust from your rugs. A handful of bright, pretty throw pillows can give your living room a whole new look. Re-purpose that Christmas wreath; the bright greens of synthetic pine boughs and garlands make the perfect platform for cheery bows and silk flowers. You can even add a few Easter eggs in anticipation of the big bunny's imminent arrival.
  4. Cut the clutter. As much as winter is a time of gathering in and hunkering down, spring is the time to open up and let things go. Get rid of that old Christmas wrap you know you'll never use. Take that ghastly cat-shaped teapot that Aunt Maude sent to you to the local thrift store. Someone else will enjoy it, and you won't have to dust it any more. Saving some old, favorite clothes for when you lose those last 10 pounds? Let them go. They're just making you feel guilty. Think of it this way, when you lose the weight, you will have earned a much-deserved trip to the store for something sleek and wonderful to show off your new figure.

However you honor the coming of spring, it's your mindset that matters most. Dark storm clouds on the horizon cannot dampen your day if you know the bright sun and flaming flowers of summer are shining in your heart.

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