Spring Cleaning by Pauline Chandler

If no one had said 'Spring's here! ', if I’d not been able to see the light and the primroses and hear the birds shouting, I'd still have known.

Spring! What a good word for it!  Today I sprang out of bed at 6am and, eschewing the usual slorming about in my pjs until after the post’s arrived, sprang through my ablutions and into my clothes. Primped, prepped and ready. 
‘What’s got into you?’ asked my partner. ‘Are you going somewhere?’ ‘No,’ I replied. ‘It’s just that I want to be ready. I don’t know what for, I just do.’  
Did he know something we don't know? 
Deep in the limbic Neanderthal recesses of my brain, something stirred, a bright blood compulsion to clean out my nest, and my thoughts and my life, to make all clean, clear and fresh again.      
Do you suffer from SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder. Disorder? Really? But, isn't this alteration from low to high spirits, as the year moves from winter to spring and back again, quite a natural thing?  I bet diamonds that everyone 'suffered' from SAD at one time. We modern folk have tried to evolve out of our winter listlessness, repressing the impulse to rest and hibernate, before the shake-up of spring. Is that a good thing?  If winter ‘depresses’ us, maybe that’s because it should do. Maybe we should acknowledge our instinct to cocoon in the dark. Do you need more rest? How many of you said ‘No!’  Ha! Thought so. 
Modern life militates against rest. People who say they're tired, have no energy and want to go to bed early, are thought of as boring, wet blankets, even weak reeds. We don’t ‘convalesce’ after illness any more, either. We just keep flogging ourselves through the storm and drang and look askance at those who can't keep up the pace. ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’ Mmm.
The remedies for the winter 'blues' are to be more active.We hibernates are exhorted to exercise, get a hobby, yoga, knitting, reading group, do some colouring in (actually I quite like colouring in, so scrub that), socialise, get out and about. Sit in front of a daylight machine. For heaven’s sake. It's counter-productive. Perhaps, that’s the last thing you should do. 
In winter, you might need the dark. Maybe we should start a campaign, in support of us resters, with our wonderful stone age inclinations. Yeah!
Today, my own ‘hibernation’ came to an end and, stirred by the return of SPRING (pace the solar eclipse!), I began to spring clean. First comes the de-cluttering. I began with my books. I’ll tell you what survived the purge and what didn’t, next time.
Happy Spring!


My latest book is a new edition from Cybermouse Books, of ‘Warrior Girl’, a Joan of Arc story set in 15thc. France, during the Hundred Years' War.


Mari Biella said…
This is something that really needed to be said, Pauline! Modern life does indeed militate against rest. I've always felt some of that primitive hibernation instinct. I can't sleep through the winter, sadly, but I like to stay at home in the warm and read. People can call me a wet blanket all they want!
julia jones said…
IN the spring I have great urge (and necessity) to start fitting out my boat for relaunch. In the autumn I feel the occasional dim promptings to do something about the house for the forthcoming winter. Two things not really in balance, unfortunately!
Dennis Hamley said…
We'e very lucky to be able to spend the depths of winter Down Under. I went round smiling when I thought of all of you back home suffering. But the body clock won't be beaten. I'm just getting over the worst cough/cold I've had for years which suddenly descended on me ten days after we came back like a revenge served cold. What a way to greet the coming of spring.
Thanks, Mari Biella. It's a shame that the world of work doesn't take account of hibernation. Wouldn't it be nice if we had 'duvet weeks' as well as 'duvet days' as some American companies do. It might actually help creativity and productivity!
Julia, your spring refit sounds wonderful! I do envy boaters. I'm a dreadful sailor. Not even happy on an uneven floor😣. I get dim promptings throughout winter, but struggle to act on them. I'm going to ignore them in future and cocoon!
So sorry to hear about your cold, Dennis. Hope you feel better soon. Keep warm!
Lydia Bennet said…
I love all the seasons for their own special beauty and the way they make me feel - one of those summer days you step outside and you can feel autumn, with its sweet melancholy ripeness, and the lovely sparkle of winter. And now hello spring, at the risk of sounding like Fotherington Thomas (chiz). You are quite right about the natural rhythms we modern homo saps try to ignore, I also wonder about convalescence - could it be so many people are laid low longterm by ME and other post-viral fatigue syndromes, because we don't allow ourselves time to get over illnesses? I'm gettting over the labrynthitis which resulted in my broken nose, and weeks on, I'm still tired and sleepy way more than normal - and fighting feeling guilty about it.
Lydia Bennet said…
Dennis, sorry to hear you are ill, but thanks very much for going around smiling at the thought of our suffering! Karma's a bitch you know! ;)
Bill Kirton said…
I've just come in from planting umpteen snowdrops so this was a very apt blog, Pauline. Then I read the comments and saw Julia's about getting the boat ready again and wished I still had mine. It used to be moored in Findhorn Bay on the Moray Firth and sitting on it, splicing bits of rope, sorting out sailbags, all that sort of thing, had the same effect as planting bulbs or taking cuttings. You step out of time and away from everything (including writing) and just ... well ... ARE.
What lovely comments. Sending you all virtual hugs. Lydia, I think you're right about post-viral fatigue. Would be interesting to see if sufferers had felt guilty about their initial illness and the time taken to get over it. All I know is that when the stretch goes out of the elastic, you can't keep on stretching it. It breaks. Take good care of yourself and please don't feel guilty. Hope you feel better soon and I'd only urge you to take all the time you need for your convalescence.
Bill, you have to get another boat.
Debbie Bennett said…
I like colouring-in too. Very cathartic!
I do agree, Pauline. For the past few weeks my energy has been returning. In winter I sleep more, take a lot longer to get going in the mornings, and always think about the way the people who used to live in this cottage must have spent a large part of the winter months hibernating - and that's exactly what we feel like doing as well.

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