10 Things to Do While Waiting for Spring

My mom gave me a paperwhite bulb kit as a holiday hostess gift. I put the soil in the white ceramic container and planted the bulb with the pointy tip just barely peeking out of the soil. I sat the pot near a window that gets plenty of direct sunlight and watered it as directed. The green stem grew quickly and produced a promising bud, but it never bloomed. The flower needed direct sunlight. Unfortunately, our forecast the past two months could be titled Fifty Shades of Grey, a book I’m sure I’d find as distasteful as our weather of late.

Are you feeling a little like my pitiful paperwhite ~ droopy, unproductive, and bit yellow around the edges? I’ve given up hope of my paperwhite blooming, but not on spring’s arrival. Here are ten ways to get us through the final stretch while we wait.

  1. Spread some sunshine. I’ve done my share of grumbling about the weather, but I’m challenging myself to go the whole week without complaining about it. Put a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and hum that Temptations’ classic, “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.”
  2. Buy some fresh flowers. It’s amazing how a bunch of inexpensive, grocery store flowers boosts my mood. Separate them into several containers, or plop the whole bunch in a single vase. Flowers help us possess what Albert Camus called an invincible summer, even in the midst of winter.
  3. Do spring cleaning now. Start in the kitchen by removing everything from the cabinets and pantry. Give all the shelves a good wipe down and put everything back neatly, discarding expired items and donating things you don’t use. Go through the same process in your bathrooms and closets. When warmer weather arrives, you’ll be free to go out and enjoy it.
  4. Shake up your routine. Especially in the winter, we can fall into a dull and monotonous routine. For a change of pace, take a different route to work, stop someplace for breakfast or coffee, browse a bookstore, shop at a different grocery store. Give yourself a little something to look forward to each day.
  5. Wash the car. As a child, I would often surprise my dad by cleaning his car, and it’s something I like do for my husband now. Crank the heat, climb in, and clean all the interior surfaces and windows. Pick up trash and wayward objects and vacuum the seats and floors. Go through the car wash, knowing full well you’ll hit several large muddy potholes on your way home.
  6. Escape from reality. A tropical vacation would be wonderful, but we can leave the world behind on a budget. Duck into a movie theater, stroll through a museum, go to the library, or binge watch a Netflix series. I recommend Monty Don’s French Gardens and Big Dreams Small Spaces, two delightful British gardening shows.
  7. Plan your spring garden. Decide what plants and flowers you want to grow in your vegetable garden, flower beds, and pots this year. Look at gardening books and magazines for inspiration. The photos are so beautiful you’ll bring them to your nose hoping to smell their delicious fragrance.
  8. Savor the sun. When the sun does make an appearance, however briefly, welcome it with open arms. Sit in a sunny window and bask in its warmth. Close your eyes and imagine you’re at the beach. One of my favorite quirky things to do on a cold sunny day is sit in my car and read.
  9. Finish indoor projects. You probably made a mental list of things you planned to do while cooped up indoors this winter. Paint bathroom. File paperwork. Organize photographs. There’s still time to check off a few things before spring arrives.
  10. Enjoy the season. By this time of year, even those of us who like winter need to be reminded of its beauty. How lovely that on a dreary February day, it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in our comfy pants, curl up by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate, and dreamily wait for spring. §

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A Perfect Snow

The February snow fell from the sky in quarter-size flakes, quickly covering the frozen landscape with a fluffy white blanket. There was something captivating about this particular snowfall. It was surreal, as if buckets of artificial snowflakes were being dumped from above onto a stage set. As the huge flakes danced rhythmically to the ground, I could hear a narrator whisper their words of wisdom.

Soft…

Pure…

Gentle…

Quiet…

Clean…

Aren’t those words we could all use more of right now? I wouldn’t mind if it was the last snow of the year, but I am inspired to bring those peaceful words into full focus.

Soft ~ In his poem The Dream Keeper, Langston Hughes warned of the “too-rough fingers of the world.” A dear friend recently confided that the world was making her hard. I understood her worry, but I know better. My friend has the kind of heart that will allow her to stay soft no matter how hard the world may seem.

There are ways we can bring more softness into our lives. Wrap yourself in coziness all day by wearing comfy clothing. Sink into your favorite chair and read an uplifting book. Light some candles for a soft, glowing atmosphere. Shut out the world if you must, but keep your heart soft.

Pure ~ Purity is synonymous with virtue, goodness, integrity, honesty, and decency, values I refuse to believe are old-fashioned or obsolete. Perhaps we are seeing more and more examples of rude and crude behavior, but we don’t have to join the crowd.

We have a choice about what we listen to, watch, read, say, do and even think. Be aware of what you are putting into your head and heart. Positive input results in positive output.

Gentle ~ Gentleness gets a bum rap these days. We’re led to believe that nice guys finish last, but I disagree. St. Francis de Sales wrote, “Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.”

My husband, Mike, is one of the most gentle human beings I know. He inspires me to be gentle in my actions, interactions, and reactions. We can learn to be gentle without being a pushover or a doormat.

Quiet ~ It’s a noisy world. Restaurants are so loud it’s impossible to converse. Music thumps from the car in the next lane. Shoppers blab into cell phones while roaming store aisles. People interrupt to make their point.

Whenever possible, turn it all off. Then practice turning off the noise in your head. It’s said if you want someone’s attention, whisper. Give yourself the gift of peace and quiet and offer the same to those around you.

Clean ~ The freshly fallen snow makes everything appear so perfect and beautiful. It’s no wonder we want to capture the flawless scene in a glass snow globe, forever preserving it from becoming the slushy dirty mess that is real life.

Maybe a beautiful snowfall is nature’s reminder of the grace that falls down on us from above, making us crystal clean and covering all of our perfect imperfections.§

A big thanks to my patrons ~ Anson, Betsy, Clint, Ed, Eileen, Karin, Judy, Julie, Lynda/Mom, Melinda, Michelle, Mike, and Suzanna! 

If this essay added value to your life in some small way, please consider becoming a patron for as little as $1 a month. To find out more, go to http://www.patreon.com/thesimpleswan.