Most people know “spring has sprung” when they see daffodils bloom, or the thermometer soar toward summer temperatures, or the clocks suddenly change, looking funny to us until we recover our equilibrium.
I know spring has arrived at The Yellow House of Dreams when I see these telltale signs:
Dirty footprints in the bathtub – There is just something magic about that week when our tender winter feet, liberated from boots, slippers and socks, first romp through grass or tingle in water from the hose. No one can resist. Suddenly our shower ritual shifts from morning to evening, when we are washing clean all the delicious spring soil and mulch and gravel, and tending to our blisters. And leaving behind the smudges that I will wipe from the tub with a smile, knowing it’s truly gardening season again.
A paper trail – We are lovers of words at our house: writers of notes, jotters of ideas, keepers of receipts, hoarders of ticket stubs and invitations, makers of lists. When the windows are open for the first few times in spring, we cannot bear to close them, even as raw winds bluster through the house with the wild tinge of winter but the faintest hint of warmth. And so it is not unusual to walk into a room and find paper scattered all over the floor, blown and drifted there by the spring winds we so adore.
The storage tub – Febreze spray – steam iron trifecta– My tank tops and T-shirts lay strewn across the spare bed, summer blouses and bikinis and shorts peeking over the top of a plastic storage tote. The steam iron sits ever-ready to erase the wrinkles from last year’s favorites, while the fabric spray allows me to skip a load of laundry. Hey, those blouses were clean when I put them away last fall, right? My sweaters sit in a pile, at easy reach when the temperatures drops again the week before Easter, but ready to be put away when there’s room in that bin. This whirlwind of wardrobe transition is a bit comical (and a lot indulgent) when you have the space for it. I have no idea what I’ll do when that spare bedroom belongs to a big-girl daughter someday but for now it is my dressing room and this time of year, it’s like a floor change-out at Bloomingdale’s.
The neighborhood soundtrack is back– On our block, there are 17 children under the age of six. There are many, many dogs; a fully-restored 1967 Chevelle; a souped-up Subaru Impreza Sport; an avid skateboarder with several like-minded friends; and right next door, a barbershop quartet leader who lives in harmony with his Sweet-Adeline-choir-medalist wife. All winter we hibernate in silence, as separated from these neighbors as if we were miles apart. Come warm weather, we all invade each other’s homes, the happy sounds of American life mingling together like the smell of fresh-cut grass and dryer sheets. We oogle over babies grown big, hair grown long (or grey), and overnight, our community is reborn and our friendships rekindled as we celebrate having weathered another year together.