I haven’t been posting much lately, I know. I blame it on March.
March is a rotten month. It’s a month of turmoil in the midst of limbo. March is neither winter nor spring, but some combination of both. In bad years, the heavy snows come and drown our hopes for an early return of the warmth. In good years, the sun appears and brings on an early budding to the trees. The grass goes green, the birds arrive a little sooner than usual. We never know which way a March will go.
In Pennsylvania, it’s known as the beginning of mud season. Spring is coming. The snow (if we have any) is melting, the days are longer – especially this year with the early DST change – and the light is just a bit softer with the sun’s return to the Northern Hemisphere. But spring isn’t really here yet.
Greek mythology says the dark and cold of winter are caused by Demeter’s grief at losing Persephone to the Underworld every year. Demeter causes the earth and all the growing things to lie dormant, awaiting Persephone’s return.
And that’s what March is like, a mother impatiently awaiting the return of her child. Knowing it can’t happen before a certain time, but itching to hurry that reunion.
“Hi! Remember me?” Persephone calls out, before quickly leaving again. The grass is still brownish and half-dead. The trees look like some kind of sculpture – and not a particularly pleasant piece. You still need a parka and gloves and a hat once the sun sets, and frost usually covers the car windows in the early mornings. Too many days are gloomy and gray. The kind of days when all you want to do is cuddle in a chair with a soft blanket, cup of hot tea or a bowl of homemade soup, and a good book.
But, in the midst of the awful gray days, there are beautiful days like yesterday with 65 degree temps and bright yellow sunshine, that call you outside to play in the garden, even though it’s a bit too soon to do much more than make plans and pore over seed catalogs.
When the pretty days come, I can’t help but start working on spring cleaning. I’m overcome with a need to clean and spruce everything up, to get rid of all the clutter that collected around the house during the cold months. With the coming of the spring equinox, I want every surface, every inch scrubbed and shined and ready for the new season.
Yesterday, I opened a few windows, pulled down the curtains in the downstairs and got them washed up, vacuumed the cobwebs that always accumulate in the dark corners and put the bright warm-weather slipcovers on the furniture. Decided to – at some future point when I have time, energy, and helpers – – to rearrange a little and swap the computer and living rooms, in order to create an actual work space for my fledgling business. Puttered around, cleaning and freshening what I could. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll work on getting every room of the house cleaned and decluttered, prepping it for the season of open windows and fresh breezes.
With the coming of Spring, I feel the sense of renewal. Not just that life will go on, but that it will be worth living. Spring brings back my energy and my sense of joy, and it banishes the desolate feelings that tend to multiply in the dark months. No wonder the early Christians co-opted the pagan equinox holidays for their resurrection story. What better time that when most people are full of joy and hope?
So, I’ll be in and out over the next month, depending on gloomy days and work needs. But, if I should vanish for awhile, you’ll know warmth has finally returned to the northeast of Pennsylvania, and I’m out playing in the dirt.