Yes, Spring does mean a big change – especially for people who have lived through the drab and cold of a Michigan winter. This isn’t from Michigan because there aren’t many signs of Spring in Michigan – it is from Tennessee. I took it Saturday morning at a rest area along I-75 on our two-long-day-drive from our southern Florida winter home to our Michigan home that is in late winter or early, early Spring.
This April drive is always interesting because we get to see a time lapse of Spring disappearing. The dogwood was beautiful in northern Georgia and the last of the deciduous trees were budding out so there was gold among the light new green leaves. When we got into Tennessee, the red bud was blooming along the roads and the early-to-leaf trees were sprouting foliage but there were still many bare trees. By the time we hit Kentucky there were daffodils and really green grass – but trees were still bare with only occasional flowering trees. By Ohio the terrain was – well, drab. In Michigan I saw a Robin which is always a sign of hope of Spring coming soon.
Viewing this change of seasons in reverse seemed to work on our nerves and we were cross on Saturday. The car didn’t seem quite big enough for the two of us. But there is a change that is much more interesting that takes place as we move from Florida to Michigan. We need to adjust our brains from one house to the other.
My husband came out of our bathroom and said that he couldn’t figure out which way to turn the faucet handles. I laughed because they didn’t work right for me either.
Every time I do something in the kitchen, I have to open several drawers before I find what I need. As I was unpacking our bags last night, I had a moment of confusion because I couldn’t remember what I do with dirty clothes between being on my body and the washing machine.
The biggest change comes from being in a home that is small and without much stuff to being in a home with a lot of stuff. We never were big collectors of stuff but when we moved after 35 years in our old home we realized that we had lots of stuff from raising three kids and having one set of grandparents and two sets of parents die and leave us stuff. Our moving mantra was “Do we really want to move this two miles up the road?”
Our Florida condo is small and every purchase involves a discussion of “Do we really need this?” “Do we really want to store this?” and “Where are we going to store this?” We have deliberately kept our life simple by not having a lot of “stuff” to pay for, store, maintain, and clean. I get to Michigan and look around and get a little overwhelmed by all the stuff – even though I have been brutal about discarding stuff.
I did some heavy thinking about my northern stuff and realized that this is where I keep my life things. This is where I keep my memories – the things that remind me of my life and its meaning. If I lost it all, my life would still have meaning but there is a comfort in having these things around me. Besides, maybe our kids will want some of this stuff. If I’m logical instead of sentimental, I know most of it will be a burden for them.
This yearly migration stimulates me to continue to discard things that have lost their importance or I won’t likely use. Today I cleaned out a linen closet that doesn’t have any room for linens. It still doesn’t hold linens, but it is neater. I also am getting rid of some papers and books in my library so it is less cluttered. That will make my life less cluttered, too.
What isn’t changing is my favorite chair where I write for my blog and drink my coffee out of my favorite chipped mug. This is where I will rest as I spring-clean-away excess clutter. This is where I will sit and think about the changes that spring and aging and, well, being alive brings. Florida life feels a long time ago even though it was only three days ago.
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