Spring is coming. I promise, even if there are still feet of snow on the ground or that huge snowstorm is hitting in the middle of March. Spring is coming and like all the seasons it has some of its own particular joys and challenges. As the seasons change, try using these tips to embrace spring living and all of its unique qualities and abundances.
Plant Something Edible
It doesn't have to be a huge garden, though certainly can be. Grow a few herbs on the windowsill. If you don't have a yard but want a garden, look for a plot in a community garden. This connection to the earth and to the food we put into our bodies is a huge part of seasonal living. Spring is the time for birth and renewal and there's no better way to grasp this than to grow, harvest, and cook something with your own hands.
Eat Spring Foods
Even if you're not growing all the food you're likely to eat, do still eat within the season. Spring is the time for fresh greens, eggs, peas, morel mushrooms, asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, and more. Look to your local farmers and gardens for what's fresh and in-season, incorporate those things as much as possible into your meal plans.
Most of us tend to eat lighter in the spring. We no longer need the filling, thick and warm foods of winter. Eat those fresh greens in salads, puree the spring peas into lovely soups, eat the rhubarb pie.
Do Some Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning might be more of a modern invention but it still serves a purpose in our very natural, seasonal lives. The temperatures begin to warm in the spring which is a great time to open up the windows and air out the house. Get some fresh air in and stale air out. Clean up the dust and soot from the heating system (whether furnace or woodstove). Wash those quilts and curtains, hang them out on the line to dry. Put the winter woolens away and protect them from insects. A deep cleaning may get rid of any lingering cold germs and helps us start the next season with a clean slate, so to speak.
This goes along with spring cleaning but is slightly more than simply dusting or washing. Lighten the load of the house, literally. Donate clothing from last spring or summer that don't fit this summer or simply isn't favored anymore. Clear the bookshelves of books that are no longer read or needed. Get rid of kitchen items that haven't been and aren't likely to be used again (As an example, if the kids are teenagers, do you really need the sippy cups?).
This is my standard advice for every season but after a long winter, walking outside in the spring can be especially delightful. Bask in the warmer sun when it appears. Celebrate walking in fewer layers and without ice cleats on the shoes. Take time to truly notice the earth surrounding you. What changes are happening? Are birds chirping now that weren't a few weeks ago? Are trees budding? What flowers are popping up? Record observations in a journal and use those notes to help you get a better understanding of how the seasons play out in your piece of the earth.
Forage for a Wild Edible
This does not have to be an exotic mushroom or plant. In fact, should not be unless you're experienced at identification. Harvest some dandelion greens and make noodles. Use lilac blossoms in some cookies. Take a walk around the yard or unsprayed park and gather some wild foods to eat. This serves two purposes: it gets us outside and helps us connect to seasonal foods. Keep your foraging habits sustainable and responsible but do harvest from the wild and see how easily it connects a person and a home to the natural rhythm of the earth.
Participate in a Community Event
For many folks, winter is a time of hunkering down inside our homes. That is natural and even good. However, spring tends to bring us outside and it's the perfect time to reconnect with the neighbors and community at large. Attend a litter clean-up event, go on a birding hike at a local park, swap plants, buy the pies at the charity auction. This is the time to start reconnecting with your local food community and learning from your neighbors. Keep it simple and in line with your personal priorities but try to make an effort to be part of the overall community this spring and watch everything grow.
While you're eating all those seasonal foods, be sure to save some for the next season when they might be as abundant or available at all. Can stewed rhubarb for fall oatmeal. Freeze herbal pesto. Dry herbs for winter soups. This isn't necessarily an exercise in self-sufficiency but rather a small effort to simply take one season's abundance and bring it into another. A way to celebrate the gifts this season and be grateful for them in the next.
Make an Herbal Remedy
Keep it simple, I'm not talking about curing major illnesses here. Make a healing salve from some weeds. Make a tincture from spring violets to help with swollen glands later. This is a powerful lesson in how the earth can provide abundance in one season to take care of us in another. Be open to exploring new plants and their uses as you notice them on your walks.
Practice Self Care
Spring tends to be a season of extreme busyness. Especially if we're planting large gardens, making herbal remedies, participating with our community, running a household, and more. Put aside time to take care of yourself. Drink tea, read a book, record the day in a journal. Take time to be still and reflect. Also, do something fun and meaningful to you – perhaps that is going for a walk, maybe it's getting a massage. Simply take the time to care for your body and spirit so that you can attend to all the other goals you tackle this spring season.
Watch the snow melt, new plants spring from the earth, and the temperatures rise as the seasons switch from winter to spring. Take care of yourself, celebrate the gifts of the season and most importantly embrace spring living in the coming weeks and months.
What's your favorite way to embrace spring living?