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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Spring cleaning

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Spring Cleaning

One of my daughters moved home.  She's got a new job and has moved home to save money.  However, we've had no children at home for about four years.  My husband and I settled into our house.  This is a nice way of saying we had accumulated a lot of stuff.

This means it's time for spring cleaning!  The year has turned towards spring.  The days are warmer.  The yard is green, the trees are starting to bud.  It's time to clear out our space in order to make room for our daughter and to clear out our clutter.

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Spring?

Spring is supposed to be about cavorting and frolicking through the new grass and flowers.  Except in my world, spring is about work.  It’s about being done with the fallow times of winter and moving forward with all the projects. 

Growing up on a farm, spring was spent walking through the fields, picking rocks, preparing the land for planting.  Now as an adult and no longer living on the farm, I find myself missing the distinctiveness of spring. 

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Signs of Spring

The week of the Spring Equinox, we got snow, lots of it: almost 2 feet feel in 12 hours, with a biting wind turning it into a full blown spring blizzard. Schools and offices were closed for 2 days, the roads were an icy mess, and it was really cold. It was hard, then, to start spring-cleaning or open the windows to invite in a freshening breeze. While snow poured into my flowerbeds, it didn’t feel appropriate to charge seeds, bless tools or prepare an offering to be left in swirl of icy snowflakes. Celebrating Ostara, regardless of what the calendar said, was the last thing on my mind.

Then, a few mornings later, I went outside, and things were...different. Yes it was cold, and the snow lingered on the lawn and had hardened into frozen slush in the street. But the cold air was not as sharp as I expected. In fact, there was a softness to it despite the chill. I could smell something too—something like soil or pollen, something almost floral. And unlike the stony silence of deep winter, with only the wind and traffic sounds in the air, I heard birds, I could hear several different trills and twees, and I noticed a froth of activity in my neighbors' cedar tree, as it was literally shaking with dozens of tiny gray wrens hopping in and out of its branches.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Washing the Greenman

March brought us a windstorm large enough to knock out our power, rain on the Equinox for the community egg hunt, and a whole host of viruses, which circulated around our family.  The last two weeks, we fought through sickness to be productive, both in the home and garden, clearing away the old, and making room for the new.

 
One part of our garden gone long-neglected was an old terra cotta Greenman, hung on the house by the previous gardener over a decade before.
 
I might have brushed away cobwebs once, but I think it kept slipping my mind over the more pressing and practical issues of digging, weeding, building, and so on.  But after nine years of living in the woods, and about five attempting to make a productive garden out of some of it, I turned and looked hard at the Greenman and understood.
 
After tilling and digging and building this weekend, I went back outside at dusk, took him down off the wall, and gave him a good wash.
 
The blast of cool water sent the worst cobwebs away into the dirt, and scrubbed free bird droppings. I washed behind his ears, where old spider egg casing hung empty and graying.  With the help of a gloved finger, I nudged away filth and debris around the wire where the hook held it.
 
Once rehung, he seemed to smile a bit more, his cheeks glowing in the fading sunlight.  Then we had a talk, and I asked his help in looking out for our little garden.  
 
"Thanks," I said, "for watching out for this space.  Thank you for working with the Mother to make sure things grow.  I ask you aid me in making this bit of land grow vegetables and fruits and herbs for my family, and a little extra for our animal neighbors.  Please help us in making this a working plot of land to feed and nourish those within the house and those who come to visit. Thank you."
 
I felt he heard me.  I felt he understood, and I gave him a nod and turned to go.
 
Before I left, though, I asked one more favor. "And would mind helping me reduce the number of slugs who come to call?  Not all of them, just enough to keep our garden growing strong."
 
Washing the Greenman reminded me of something:
 
When you're struggling to achieve something you feel is important, and practical steps aren't working, maybe it's time to take a look around.  There may be something or someone neglected who seemed superfluous but may prove instrumental in removing the biggest obstacles in your path.
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Wake up calls for spring

In Pagan traditions, we tend to associate the winter with letting go of the old, and the spring with the coming of the new – it’s a tree based way of viewing things. Leaves fall off in the autumn, so we let go. New buds emerge in the spring, sap rises, catkins flower – we can make new plans.

However, there’s a longstanding tradition of spring cleaning, and it’s not just humans who do it. The return of the light shows up grime and cobwebs accumulated over the winter. With spring, it may at last be warm enough to open windows and air rooms. Other mammals will be clearing out the winter bedding to make fresh nests for new litters of young as well. New nests are built and old ones carefully refurbished.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Cleansing and Cleaning

     Normally as we approach Imbolc I am thinking ahead to growth and rebirth: setting goals, planning gardens, asking how I can change and improve aspects of myself or my life. Not this year. With two people in my house fighting strep throat, one recovering from a stomach virus, and another knocked flat by an upper respiratory infection, the last thing on my mind is growth. I'm thinking cleansing. Physical and spiritual. I want to disinfect my kitchen and dispose of emotional clutter. This Imbolc my focus is cleansing intentions and processes, cleansing space, spirit, and body. It is needed.

     I think for many of us cleansing is an unacknowledged part of the Imbolc season. How many of us do a big 'spring cleaning' every March or so? I generally do mine around Imbolc. I'm on my couch today trying to figure out how to facilitate this. (I'm one of the strep throat people.) The first step is not to worry about it. I will get to it when I get to it. Mental stress (especially about something so mundane) leads to bodily stress, which leads to sickness. In order for one to be physically well, one must be mentally well also. This can be a tall order. You have work. You have families. You have stress. Like myself, you may have mental illness. Studies have shown again and again the correlation between depression and illness. What are we to do?

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