Tuesday, April 3, 2012

That Time of Year

Here is a repost of this month's newspaper column. I'm working on a blog-exclusive column for next week!

That Time of Year

Sorry in advance for what I’m about to tell you; I know it’s silly, but it’s true.

I feel defeated at the first signs of spring. Leafy green buds on the blackberry bushes? Ugh. Is it here already? Winter wasn’t long enough.

I jealously guard my hibernation. While I’m indoors, I get things done. I organize the house, do research, plan our summer. Write. I read too much, and I listen to favorite DVDs while I go through the house, touching everything, trying to make a difference.

Before it’s really too late, before the forget-me-nots bloom and even before I let myself admire the sweet hellebores already gracing the rock wall, I’m going to enjoy a treat: I’m going to experience each room in my house. I don’t mean spring clean. I won’t turn the room upside down, vigorously scrub it, gently spank it, and then shut the door and hope it stays put for awhile. I mean go in, and have an experience. When I’m 80, and I remember these days living in this house, with the kids still home and ours, I’ll remember times when I stopped to have an encounter with my home, and the things we put in it.

I’ll take each book off the shelf. I’ll dust them, look for little notes I’ve left in the past, and leave a few new ones. Some notes I have written, but mostly they are notes I have received. I leave them randomly in books to be rediscovered.

And those bookshelves – we have nine in our house, I’m delighted to tell you. Dirk and I picked out each of them together. Some we refinished. Others we gulped and spent a little more than we might have, because we loved them.

Woops, make that ten shelves. There’s a little one right here next to me that I forgot.

I probably won’t open boxes under beds; that requires decision making, and I don’t want to do that just now. I might dust pictures on the walls, and really look at them. Having them clean will be a nice bonus.

I’ll probably take an hour and fix up the kids’ dollhouse. It’s always a mess of furniture, Polly Pockets, and anything miniature that gets tossed in. I’m glad that it gets used and they really play with it, but occasionally I like to have it neat and organized.

My craft supplies will receive a duty visit. Yarn, beads, stamps, scrapbooking supplies… a dusty monument to my optimism. Don’t laugh. The crafting bug could still bite someday, and I might make beautiful homemade gifts for friends and family. You never know. Supplies are lined up in clear plastic boxes, cute baskets, and lots of wrinkled craft store bags shoved into the slots of a giant IKEA wall shelf. Most of the year I ignore my collected craft materials; they just sit there and judge me.

The only craft relics I really enjoy visiting are my unfinished quilts. They have potential. The colors pieced together are my one-of-a-kind creations. Some might call them odd, kind of a Frankenstein mistake of weird patterns and colors, but all those fabrics pieced together call to me, want to be touched. Even ugly quilts are friendly like that.

I have managed a few accomplishments this winter, I suppose. Our art and game closet, formerly a hard-hat area, is lovely. If you come to visit, you may have your picture taken in front of it, if you wish. Also, I decided that the house really does belong to me (well, us), and that I don’t have to wait for my mother to come and tell me to rearrange the kitchen cupboards before I do it. Which is something else I partially accomplished, when it occurred to me that I could.

So fine, I surrender. I’ll make those last visits around the house, then pull on my work gloves, crawl out of my winter den, and head outside. Let the trillium bloom, let the crocus arrive. I’ll try not to cringe.


  1. Oh, Denise! While I'm anxiously awaiting Spring and all that it promises I love this post because there are some parts of Winter I crave! I love the idea of hibernation, by the end of summer I'm craving mornings when I can see my breath, a hot mug of cocoa, and bit over-sized sweatshirts. But my favorite line from this post? "Most of the year I ignore my collected craft materials; they just sit there and judge me." LOVE THIS. Glad to know my crafts supplies aren't the only ones that judge.

  2. I love this feeling of cozy house loving. The notes tucked into books is especially heart-warming and I think I make take a page from you (no pun intended).
    Worrying about the outside is something that doesn't occur much to me. Sadly, I lack a green thumb or any green appendage so gardening is a futile effort. But I wish I had trailing flowers in bloom.
    Happy Spring, even if you're lamenting winter. *hug*

  3. Love it Denise! I worry about my garden all the time in the spring/summer times. Funny how the weather works on me like that.