The phrase “spring cleaning” conjures up images of 1930’s housewives beating the heck out of wool rugs hanging across the backyard. It meant there was lots of dirt in the house and no fancy vacuum cleaners. I’ve never beaten a rug, but I like to think of spring cleaning as starting fresh in other ways besides getting rid of plain old dirt. In my mind, this reliable signal gives me a prod at a time of year when I start to sag. “Zap zap, time to get going, girl. Nature’s growing, better get a move on.”

Spring is three days old now. I don’t feel the urge to clean anything yet, but I do feel an excitement in my head for warmer days — even though it was only 36° outside this morning. This anticipation always lifts my spirits because flowers aren’t the only things that are forming around here. A perkier attitude seems to trigger my creative juices, and new ideas start to germinate. Really, attitude is everything and the difference in mine between a gray day and a blue day is unmistakeable. Seeing that Daffodil pop up always jumpstarts my optimism for a better year. (One cannot have too many fresh starts.) Her yellow trumpet begs me to smile back no matter how ugly I feel at the time. Thank you, Daffy.


Thank goodness for a little spring camouflage.

Daffodils get lots of attention in the spring, but Forsythia is an unsung hero in my neighborhood. Just look how this spray of yellow flowers manages to camouflage — kinda sorta — the four vehicles behind her. Mind you, only one person lives here.

Spring Sun Gets Juices Flowing

When the sun comes out and temperatures increase, the streets are suddenly filled with shorts and smiles and animated conversation. It’s a day convertible owners open the garage and let their “baby” out to play. These pampered cars finally get released to the streets from winter digs by mostly middle aged men with jaunty hats who, in their own minds, look oh so cool. Convertibles aren’t common here so they stand out.

I live in Oregon, where wet is expected. It is, after all, why it’s so gorgeous here. People who move to the the Pacific Northwest do so because it’s nature at her finest — scenery to die for and an outdoor recreation paradise. They stay because nature becomes their priority. When there’s a clear sunny day wedged into the winter gray, those of us who are sun worshipers and who are not in office cubicles learn to drop everything. We change course for the day and rush outside to pull a weed or just absorb our share of Vitamin D. Mostly, it just to smile and squeal like we were five.

SECRET: Take a queue from nature, grow! You CAN teach an old dog new tricks, so change something. Change anything. Just grow.