Spring Cleaning

I’m not going to lie. At this very moment I feel like I did in school: those times when the paper is due tomorrow, and it’s the night before. I’m staring at blank lined paper with pen in hand and nothing’s coming, the mind is as blank as the paper. Something will come, eventually, but the panic is fuzzing up my brain.

It doesn’t help that my whole body hurts, and I’m exhausted.

Garden Gargoyle

[ One of Mike’s Garden Gargoyles. Ready for sun and warmth, so over being covered in snow. ]

The mistake I made this weekend was getting obsessed with cleaning. I did not plan well, and did not foresee that come Sunday afternoon all my joints and muscles, from the bottoms of my feet to my stiff shoulders and neck, would be telling me (not so quietly) that I went a tad overboard with the rags, mop, bucket full o’ water, duster, hand-held vacuum, dust pan and broom…and that the moving of dressers, contents of said dressers, artwork from walls, bending, pushing, pulling, wiping, sweeping, and mopping would leave me just the tiniest bit exhausted (and not, perhaps, in the best shape for writing).

But I had decided to follow my own advice (when in doubt, clean something) because nothing else productive was getting done. Not to mention that the accumulated dust and grime were mocking me every day as I walked through the house (I like to think of our house and its occupants as a physics lesson in entropy, the only word I latched onto in college physics: “a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work”).

Avoidance? Procrastination? Perhaps. But at least I ended up with some pretty darn clean (and rearranged) rooms and my socks organized by color.

Plus spring is the time for cleaning. Starting fresh (kinda like New Years, only sunnier and warmer).

Mimi Helping

[ Supervisor of Dresser Content Removal ]

Lessons From The Quince

Spring in Michigan is a truly glorious experience. Growing up in southern California, I never really knew distinct seasons. Winter was definitely colder than summer, and there was that one tree on the block that lost its leaves in fall, but compared to where I live now, there were not four distinctly different seasons.

The last two days here have been bright, sunny, warm (in the sun), and after the gray and cold of winter (as mild as it was), the joy of sitting outside, watching and listening to all the birds, looking at all the tiny green dots that will soon be leaves…is heavenly.

Of course there is, therefore, lots of work to be done in the yards, but that can wait. Focus on the birds chirping and plants growing.

Ostrich Ferns

[ Ostrich ferns unfurling in our backyard. ]

This year, I am taking a lesson from the quince bush currently flowering in the front yard. The one I thought we had killed removed.

The previous owners of our house must have thought long and hard about how they could torture the future occupants. Let’s fill this two foot by eight foot plot of dirt with small white rocks! And not just one layer, how about a foot deep. Heh, when the next owners want to plant something there, boy won’t it be fun to remove all those rocks!

And hey, right next to the driveway (the driver’s side), lets plant not one, but TWO different types of bushes that have thorns! Plants that will grow to be too big for the space they are in, and therefore repeatedly stab the new occupants as they try to walk between the car and the house!

Much as Mike may think otherwise, I do not like ending the life of anything growing in our yards, but sometimes the health of the garden, or the owners, demands it. We removed that damn quince about three or four years ago, and not only has it come back, this year it has more flowers than it ever did before:

The Indestructible Quince

I don’t have the heart to try to remove it again (and I don’t think Mike will let me). It has persisted. And not only that, it has literally blossomed and more beautifully than it did before.

My new motto: I am the quince.

Maybe without the thorns.

A Change Will do You Good

The cleaning helped, but the rearranging of our bedrooms (and subsequent IKEA visit, always a good thing) was even more satisfying. Something about the change up – sleeping in a different room, with different light coming in the windows, different sounds – has been a really refreshing change. If you’re feeling stuck, clean something and/or move things around. Shake things up, change your perspective.

Mental, physical, creative blocks, all be damned. Hard work, patience, persistence, hard work…patience. I may be hurting as a result of my work this weekend, but I am persisting. I temporarily forgot my exhaustion, got into the flow of writing and sharing. A reminder to just sit (at the computer, in the studio, in front of that pile of whatever) and just start. Begin.

I’m moving forward. And I will, hopefully like the quince, blossom with a vengeance.

Ostrich Fern Unveils






This entry was posted in Creative Life, Motivation.


  1. Barb April 26, 2016 at 9:11 AM #

    Thank you for the beautiful description of Michigan’s four seasons. Each effects the depths of our being, and Spring definitely brings about the urge to clean up what winter has left behind.
    Summer follows with plants growing, sunshine, heat (not always appreciated by me, but still wonderful). Autumn (my favorite time of year) and a time to retreat and look inward….an introspective few months….and winter…love the stark black skeletal trees against the winter sky. So many levels…..Love Barb

  2. Julie April 29, 2016 at 2:46 PM #

    Barb, so appreciate your comment, thanks for writing! I couldn’t agree more 🙂 xoxo

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