Raindrops and puddles
Laughter, dressed in yellow coats,
Umbrellas in hand
Have you seen any kids lately wearing those Hallmark-style yellow raincoats? Me neither. Spring here in Wisconsin seems to be one wet, cold, windy day after another. Kids still love their umbrellas, but we all seem to be wearing damp jackets and holding our breath…just waiting for summer to arrive.
Have you heard of Wisconsin’s eleven seasons? Winter, Fool’s Spring, Second Winter, Spring of Deception, Third Winter, Mud Season, Actual Spring, Summer, False Fall, Second Summer (one week), and Winter.
Spring is sooooooo long. We feel impatience. There is a restlessness in the air.
So, how do you get your mind in a place of appreciation, mindfulness, and gratitude?
Many people have heard of the Danish word for coziness, contentment, and well-being by appreciating a simple life–hygge. But I’m learning that the concept doesn’t end when the snowflakes stop flying, the cozy blankets are put away, and the hot chocolate is all gone. Yet, I’m still feeling the need to consciously cultivate gratitude in my life… for my life. The Danes actually have seasonal variations for hygge throughout the year.
- Forårshygge – Spring-hygge
- Sommerhygge – Summer-hygge
- Efterårshygge – Autumn-hygge
- Vinterhygge – Winter-hygge
Here in Wisconsin, spring is in full bloom. After the wet, dreary, grey days of early spring, every sunny mild day is a sign of approaching summer.
When I taught First Graders, we would regularly struggle to keep the kids in their coats at recess in the spring. Once it was sunny and above freezing, the kiddos would toss their outerwear on the pavement as they played catch&run with the football or swung from the monkey bars.
One of my favorite activities from teaching was exploring seeds and growing things with my class. We studied the germination of lima beans and started sunflowers in recycled milk cartons.
One of the reasons I’m feeling so good about my post-teaching life is that I am still planting seeds and growing stuff.
This growing stuff and appreciating growing things is a huge part of Forårshygge for me. (Side note: Do you have any idea how to actually pronounce this word? As I write this, it’s really bothering me that I don’t.)
I’ve seen a few other posts about what people are doing in the spring to experience and live “Forårshygge”. The common thread that I see is honoring growth and renewal.
Here are other ways I am growing things and renewing my life this spring…
I planted seeds in trays weeks ago and set them by my basement window on heated mats. The tomatoes are a disappointment, it looks like somebody sat on the coleus, but the peppers look strong and healthy. It was a month ago that we moved the flats out into my little greenhouse. I’ll transplant them into the garden as soon as it stops raining outside.
Spring Cleaning Anyone?
Open the windows and clean spider webs out of the corners at the ceiling. When I was teaching, I either didn’t notice the cobwebs when I cleaned up in the evening–or, it was too much effort to get them down from the high corners. Well ladies, now. is. the. time! I also open the windows to let in the spring air, the house feels fresher. This can totally be ramped up if you hang washed bedsheets out to dry. (I actually hang mine on the deck railing since I don’t have a clothesline.)
Is it still alive?
Move and group houseplants from inside to outside. Most of the greenery in my house is more than a decade old. They thrive from May to October outside and then rather hibernate in a north-facing breakfast room during Wisconsin’s frigid months.
A Little Vase of Something
But the most important of all the Forårshygge in my life is located on my nightstand in the bedroom. Beginning at the end of April, I bring a small, fresh blossom or mini bouquet and put it in a tiny vase. Spring begins with yellow forsythia twigs and in quick succession leads to pink tulips, yellow daffodils, miniature lily of the valley, and fragrant lilacs. This little display, along with a lamp, a pile of books, reading glasses and the vase makes me happy.
It is like a neon sign to my brain reminding me to pause, smile, and breathe when I glance at it
Spring is finally here and there are no raincoated kids holding umbrellas in my life. Are these real for anyone? Instead, I have shrimpy seedlings waiting to be planted, soggy jeans drying for hours on my porch railing, and dirt circles on my carpet where a pot sat through winter.
We can only do what we can, moment by moment, to cultivate coziness… contentment, and…well-being.