I was given a paperwhite bulb kit as a holiday hostess gift. Two months ago, I put the soil in the white ceramic container and planted the bulb with the pointy tip just barely peeking out. I set 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. I’m afraid the flower needed more sunny days than the weatherman delivered to southern Illinois this season.
As we reach the end of winter, 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.
- Spread some sunshine. I do 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 great Temptations’ classic, “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May.”
- Arrange 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 French philosopher Albert Camus called an invincible summer.
- 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. If you get a second wind, go through the same process in your bathrooms and closets. When warmer weather arrives, you’ll be free to go out and enjoy it.
- Shake up your day. Especially in the winter, we can fall into a dull and monotonous routine. For a change of pace, take a different route to work, go someplace for breakfast or coffee, bake something delicious or wear something special. Give yourself a tiny thrill to look forward to each day.
- 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.
- 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, wander the stacks at the library and then dive into a good book. I’m revisiting all the delightful characters in Jan Karon’s Mitford series for a second (or third) time.
- 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 may bring them to your nose hoping to catch a whiff of sweet fragrance.
- 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. Bundle up and take a walk. One of my favorite quirky things to do on a clear cold day is park my car in the sun and read with the heater warming my feet.
- 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.
- 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 warm cup of something and dreamily wait for spring. §
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”
~ Albert Camus, French philosopher
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