Several rituals that play on our emotions, good and bad, mark the passage of winter into spring.
Once in a while you hear people say they are sorry to see the end of winter. Now they must wait until November for cold temperatures, snow, and ice. They are definitely in the minority. The rest of us step out into balmy temperatures and comforting sunshine with joy. We throw open our arms to the season that brings outdoor living, water sports, picnics, and vacations.
While we are embracing spring and the flowers, green grass, and birds that it promises, the seasonal greeting is not all a bouquet of tulips and daffodils.
One annual spring downside is having to downsize the closets. If we lived where there is but one season with temperatures that are in a similar range for 12 months - Hawaii, for instance - there wouldn't be as much reason for the seasonal frustration. Imagine how packed the closets and drawers would be. Here we have a sound reason to get with it in April and make life easier.
Sorting through my three closets and large attic is like going shopping. Whatever the occasion, morning, noon, or night, dress up or dress down, pick a color, a style, and a fabric and I can throw it together by leafing through the closets. Add appropriate jewelry and a scarf. They are here too, even a hat. How do you get rid of hats when they always bring compliments, especially from men?
The apparel supply is not just overwhelming, it's disgraceful.
One excuse is that when you live alone you don't have to share closet space and tell anyone you'll take one end and they can have the other. Been there, done that. Nor is there anyone to remind you of your weakness. Depression babies argue that they are not storing things they don't need, but that they are saving them in the "just in case" file.
Taking everything out of the closet and piling it on the bed is one way to get started. If you just paw through the closet you will save more. Trust me. Pick up each article from the pile, one at a time, and consider it seriously. Do you need it? Better yet, did you ever need it? If the answer is no, fold it neatly or hang it up to be donated.
Examples of my "no" donations just from one closet include a summer skirt that I bought at a used clothing store in Florida for $5, another skirt I haven't been able to button for years, a black running suit that picks up too much white hair from Digby, and a red-and-white beach hat that was too small when I bought it on sale. Five blouses and three turtlenecks will never be missed. The dress worn when I received an honorary doctorate degree from Adrian College in April, 2003, is pretty snug, but the memory of the extreme honor is so treasured I will put it back in the closet at least until Spring 2011.
I hang tight to clothing purchased at Jacobson's in Toledo and Jackson, Mich., probably because they are classic styles and were expensive. But this year I just may let the Jones New York pantsuit go. It should be appreciated by someone else during our economic crunch. Shoes? Let's not get into that department. I have more that don't fit right than do, so why keep them?
The arrival of spring at the Posey Lake Farm House also meant it was time to bury Sullivan. The 18-year-old cat's burial Tuesday in the garden where he hid in the hostas was tearful enough to prompt an Irish prayer.
Mr. Ed, with shovel in hand, had waited for the ground to thaw. The cat that died in December while I was in Florida was kept in the vet's freezer until spring. Wrapped in blankets in a box marked by a large green shamrock with his name, it is good that Sullivan is back home. It is one of those bittersweet chapters that life delivers.
To those readers who remembered Sullivan with cards and memorials to pet adoption agencies, thank you and happy springtime.
Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.
Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.