Spring may have not have sprung, but it’s time for a clean slate

Published 2:29 pm Tuesday, March 13, 2018

It happens pretty much every year. It is March. That means it is meteorological spring. All the signs agree.  Daffodils are blooming. I have walked to and from work with only minimal extra layering. We have experienced three straight days with sunshine. The puppy has many birds to bark at while playing outside.

So, why then did I wake up this morning to snow covering the car I left outside the garage? A garage I so determinedly keep clear just so I can avoid this very issue.

Every day I check the National Weather Service for the virtually minute by minute prediction of the temperature and other weather elements for the day, night and week. I  do pay attention because, in my experience, the National Weather Service is pretty knowledgeable about these things

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That very report detailed there would be snow during the night, less than an inch so it said. You would think I would take it seriously and prepare accordingly.

But, no, I did not. So, when I walked the puppy at 4 a.m. and she bounded around playfully in the fluff, why should I be surprised? I poked my finger into the accumulation on the car hood. What do you know, three quarters of an inch.

It happens pretty much every year. We experience a burst of warmth, sunshine and pretty flowers to pick for sweet arrangements inside after several months of chill, precipitation and bare twigs. It is early March, but the elements do not care what the definition of spring is.They have a few tricks left in their arsenal. Sometimes, I think they do it on purpose. Just to remind us mere mortals there is much we do not control.

Conversations in casual settings often turn to the weather. Many will remark about this snow cover as if it is a rare phenomenon. I remember an early Easter one year.  I had made a perky new outfit in perky spring colors. To finish off the look, I had cute coordinating colored flats inspired by a then trendy shoe designer.  It was quite a splurge.

We woke up on Easter Sunday morning to a covering of snow and chilly temperatures not conducive to perky spring outfits. I was not to be deterred by  the weather in my fashion choice. If I tiptoe carefully to and from the car and the church, I can and will wear those shoes. It’s a quick trip and the church will be heated.  No need for a dreary winter coat to spoil the springy effect of the new outfit. As you have probably guessed, I wasn’t the only person to defy the elements in my Easter outfit.

It was snow covered outside, but inside it looked like fresh spring.

Weather is a fact. The seasons march on, meteorological , solstice or on their own schedule.  My schedule and preferences make no difference.

I have recounted my struggles with my yard and read what I need to do at what time of the year in this plant hardiness zone. I seek advice from the many experts around me. And still I struggle.   

It is a combination of factors. Ignorance is definitely one of them. But, the most overwhelming is the incompatibility between my availability and the demands of the jobs according to the seasons. I have more time when the seasons are cold and things are not growing.

At the time when the tasks like raking and tidying are not creative, I am also not motivated.   

I’m determined to maintain my New Year’s resolution to start nothing new. More than any aspect of my life, the yard was the incentive for this resolution. If I can just get it under control, I will have achieved my goals.

Two weeks ago, with a rare free weekend, I set out to make the plan. I willed myself to honestly assess the yard jobs, not based on photographs of beautifully landscaped gardens from that magazine, but on what will just bring the chaos to order.

I was systematic. I started at the front of the yard and moved to the far back.  I made  columns of tasks, including repairs and maintenance and rationally included categories for those which I can do myself and those which are best left to a professional, or at least a person who would be more capable of safely climbing ladders and crawling around on the roof.

I resisted the urge to peruse those images of perfectly designed spaces and edged paths.  This is the year of nothing new. The year of cleaning up and mending.  he year the leaves will get raked and the roses trimmed correctly and old firewood piles removed.

No task is too small for attention. No task is too big to attack. Attack in small bits and see progress for a change. The calendar is not necessarily the guide for the work. That’s my philosophy.

I’m happy to report that two weeks into the list, two nasty jobs are complete. Jobs that are normally considered fall work. No one would even notice but me.  I squeezed the work session in late one afternoon when I would rather have been cuddled up on the couch as the deceptive spring weather had turned chilly and damp.

Yes, I know some of the items on the list are time and season specific.  Yet, I will march forward.  You may not see a difference. You might see me working at a task completely outside a seasonal window.

My motto will be, “First, do no harm”. In the case of my yard, there isn’t much chance of harm judging by the list of items needing attention. Maybe it is a cop out, this plan of mine. If I can wade my way through the list, the end result will certainly not resemble the photo layout in the magazine. But, there is no self imposed pressure to achieve that result. The helpful lists in the magazine of jobs for this month can just be skipped.

But, at the end of this calendar’s cycle of seasons, surprising or not, there will be a clean slate for a new plan and perhaps new resolutions in another year.