Spring Cleaning

cherry blossom in Hobart TasmaniaIf you’d asked me at any point in the first 25 years of my life what my favourite season was, I would have told you autumn.

But I am coming to realise that it’s no longer true.

It is spring.

I don’t think it is just a sign of age that light and warmth are becoming so much more important to me.


It is motherhood that has changed my mind.

My memories of pregnancy are winter ones. Squeezing myself into woolly maternity tights and fur-lined boots… getting lifts home from yoga in the dark… a friend taking my elbow as we walked along an icy pavement.

But then DorkySon came, and in the three days we spent in hospital, winter turned to spring. Bees and butterflies arrived in the bushes, and splashes of colours exploded in the flowerbeds. The sweet sound of birdsong was everywhere.

Perhaps it was just the contrast with the hospital – the bright white surfaces, the cold gleam of metal – but the first time I held DorkySon in my arms and we ambled slowly around the garden together, it was almost a psychedelic experience.

I stopped walking for a moment and thought about those stupid labour ward windows that wouldn’t open more than a crack. I was grateful to be out, and gulped down lungfuls of soft spring air.

The experience felt as new to me as it did to DorkySon.

I can’t recreate that first spring as a mother. But every year since, when the season has come around, I’ve done little things to let the colour back into our lives after winter’s dark days.

For the last month I’ve been cleaning all the nooks and crannies of the house, dusting skirting boards and polishing brasses. I’ve spent mornings organising our piles of paperwork, neatly popping it into box files. I’ve built shelves to replace the tatty cardboard boxes that housed DorkySon’s books. And I’ve been sorting through cupboards and drawers, getting rid of the clutter that has accumulated here after just one year. Goodbye to too-small scooters and too-tight sweaters… goodbye to music that has never been played and novels that have never been thumbed.

DorkyDad has been doing the same in the garden. Fixing shoogly paving stones. Clearing out weeds and fallen blossom. Restacking what’s left of the firewood so that it stays dry until next year.

The spring cleaning is just about done, and life feels a little tidier. Our living space is airy and bright once more. We are starting to feel more awake.

A few weeks ago DorkySon planted sunflower seeds. He checks on their progress every morning before school, and when he comes home in the afternoon he gives them a drink from his blue and green watering can. Seven little shoots have now popped up through the soil.

Whatever this new cycle of seasons is going to bring, there’s room for it now. It will be welcome. We have made space.

7 responses

  1. Funny how motherhood changes one’s perception of the seasons. I’m the opposite to you – I used to say Spring was my favourite. Then my son came along in Autumn, so now I associate that joy with all the snuggly nesting and woolly scarves that come with the season. This is a lovely, thought-provoking post.

  2. ‘Shoogly’: a Scots word or a Tasmanian one? I love it either way! It’s the lovely slide into woolly autumn here and I’m really enjoying watching the river I live by change with the seasons.

  3. Now I have also always said autumn too (and what lovely light we are having in Scotland at the moment, hurrah!) but I can definitely relate to enjoying spring more since Bagl came along, I think he and DorkySon have the same birthday? Although I went in to hospital in unseasonably warm weather with no coat and left a few days later in the snow. The green and the flowers coming out more, the warmer light and the memories of snuggling in the window so the sunlight could work its magic on his jaundice make me love the season more. Hope you enjoy your spring-cleaned home.

  4. Every time I visit your blog Ruth I end up with a big grin on my face and feeling happy at how the move seems to have been just the most life enhancing and positive move for you all x

  5. I’m sitting on the fence on this one, I think; I love both autumn and spring but must admit to being a little envious you’re coming into spring, that we have a long winter to get through. Having said that today is going to be one of the warmest Halloweens on record – it’s 19 degrees outside as I write this with blue, sunny skies! X

  6. What a lovely post Ruth, so therapeutic to make space, I do it regulalry. Spring is also my favourite time of the year, I just love the blossom. Mich x

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