Spring by Kathryn White

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Gladys Taber

"Housework is tiresome in spring. Almost any woman gets that feeling of being simply overcome because she can never get through it...The light is brighter now, and lasts longer, and it shows up everything! You can't do it all at once, curtains, rugs, woodwork, attic and cellar.

The thing to do, I told myself yesterday, is to make a comprehensive list of all the spring jobs. I began very tidily with,,,clean attic, spray, weed out all books...discard any piece of clothing you can get along without. Give away all blankets and rugs not actually in use. Check bed linen and give away all except for beds used. Take magazines to hospital...
By the time I made my list, I was worn out. So, since it was a warm April day, we went off with bread and cheese, hard-cooked eggs, a vacuum of boiling coffee. Sat by the falls at Eight Mile. I felt marvelously restored. The wild white violets were in bloom and below the falls the skunk cabbage was like the third act of a play, so dramatic and final. It always reminds me of Van Gogh, for it is a violent plant and greener than any green could ever be. The unfurling leaves look tropical.
As we sat quietly eating the crusty bread and cheese, spring was tangible. The red-winged blackbirds made a good landing in the maple trees and talked their heads off about the journey up...
the water, still sharp with snow, poured over the rocks. It was free at last. A hawk went over, riding the air....
“Maybe it would be better to leave the attic and cellar until fall”, I said dreamily, “there isn't any special hurry”...

"This year, I vow, the attic will be weeded out, and all the possessions which cannot prove their usefulness shall be ruthlessly cast out on the dump. It shall be a bare and lovely place, where it might be pleasant to go and think sometimes. Of course we'll have to spare the little trundle bed that Ned slept in as a child, and my sewing machine, even though I don't often use it, since it is inimical to me, and then, I must keep the rag-bag. I am old-fashioned enough to like one; you never know when you may need a piece of this and that...Now perhaps you can see why the attic has never really been cleaned out." (in this case, it is our basement)

"This is the time of year when the house looks shabby and between mop-up jobs, we notice the wear and tear of winter. This year, we decided to get fresh pull-curtains for the family room, a soft apple green with an antique brown pattern over it.
“But that is all we will do,” said Jill, firmly. “We've got those insurance bills coming in. Just the curtains.
“You are absolutely right.” I say.
The curtains looked lovely. But after they were hung, the walls of the room looked worse. The open fires all winter long, plus the coal gas which our furnace affects had ruined them. So we repainted the walls to match the green in the curtains. It really looked beautiful but the woodwork was a sight. We had to do over the woodwork, which led inevitably, to new slip covers for the chairs and sofa.
“Certainly dangerous to put up new curtains,” said Jill.
“Well, it's done now,” I said, and added, “except we really have to paint the insides of the corner cupboards. That cherry red looks awful. We need a darker tone of green.”
“And wouldn't you like the floor sanded and redone too?”
"Well, not until the mud season is over,” I said meekly."

"A full pink moon-April's autograph in the sky-shines down over Stillmeadow. Remembering the white gold moon of January, the ball of pale copper at harvest time, June's daffodil eye of night, I ask myself:
Who can say which is the most beautiful? Each season has its own charm, each bestows its own blessing, and we welcome each in turn. The planet we in habit may be only one of countless planets, but it turns in its accustomed orbit and we accept this unquestioningly.
There is security in knowing that spring follows winter and summer comes after spring.
As I go back into my house, I wish all my friends, everywhere, the joy and sweetness of spring.

"I pray God's blessing may fall on us as softly as apple blossoms in fall in spring. And then I put the guttering candles on the trestle table and go to bed feeling like tomorrow will be another adventure in living!"

"I resolve to be more patient, less selfish, cherish my friends, and in my small way help whoever needs help. I cannot conceivably influence the world's destiny, but I can make my own life more worthwhile. I can give some help to some people; that is not vital to all the world's problems and yet, I think if everyone did just that, we might see quite a world in our time!"

"Seasons flow one into the other, today moves inexorably toward tomorrow and we cannot keep even the most enchanted hour. World events shape different unknown destinies for mankind. Nevertheless these abide: love, friendship, faith in God. These arm us against the transitory aspects of life on this planet.
And so as I look forward to (spring) summer, my heart is thankful. And may God bless my neighbours all over the world, I pray, as I open the picket gate..."

artwork by Sue Lynn Cotton

All excerpts above are written by my beloved Gladys Taber and are taken from Stillmeadow Sampler, Stillmeadow Calendar, and Stillmeadow and Sugarbush.
Can you see why I love her writings? I sense a kindred spirit and although she is no longer here for me to tell her this, I have really appreciated her wonderful thoughts, her witty and amusing anecdotes, her nuggets of wisdom and the pearls of life she shares with her readers.
Like her, I would much rather escape into a good book, visit over tea with friends, enjoy a hearty meal along with lively conversation, become introspective when I consider the state of the world we live in...
But I have taken time to write my list and it is growing, so unlike Gladys, who longs to put it off, I will be tackling the jobs over the course of the next few months.
I have papers to organize, sort and file, books and magazines to donate, clothes to sort, landscaping projects to complete ... oh, joy!
Spring Cleaning here we come! Maybe this new book I ordered will inspire me .......
What are your spring-cleaning goals?