Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rhythms of Life

I’m enjoying this first day of daylight savings time by sitting on a bench in the sunshine on the playground behind our apartment building at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. My foot is propped up on my scooter and a faint breeze is ruffling my hair. I am squinting a little in the bright light despite my sunglasses and I realize it is time once again to pull out my sunhat. My husband is chasing our two and a half year old around as she attempts to play hide and seek with the bigger girls and is distracted by her own explorations. The daffodils are up. This is the first week I have noticed them and they are like little gifts of earthbound sunshine after the snow and rain earlier this week.

I like the rhythm of changing between daylight savings time and standard time twice a year. I know people complain about the lack of sleep in the spring but I love the extra sunshine at the end of the day. It feels like a call to get back outside after a winter spent in semi-hibernation, to return to activity. I love the announcement it makes to my senses – spring is here! In the fall I love the tucked-in feeling I get from the shift back to standard time. It’s time to rest and sleep, to stay inside and warm. 

It will be time to plant our garden soon. We use upside down hanging containers to maximize space, since we only have a small north facing patio to work with. This year we are trying to engineer a way to cantilever the plants out from the edge of the patio about half a foot so we can get some extra sunshine. Our hope is that this will translate into an improved harvest. Last year we planted tomatoes but we only harvested 11. Still, we started late (in June) so hopefully an early start and the improved light will improve the harvest. This year’s garden will be strawberries and tomatoes, courtesy of my mother’s Christmas gift to us. We’ll add a few shade tolerant flowers in a planter box on the right hand corner of the patio, which receives at least a little sunshine.

I love the rhythms of life each year. The things that change season to season but that come around each year, marking time’s passage through the things I do, eat and wear. Spring is daylight savings time, planting, cherry blossoms in Washington D.C., and the sheep and wool festival in May. Summer is T-shirts and Capri's, splashing in a swimming pool, harvesting the garden, and cookouts with family and friends on decks where we sit all afternoon and lazily chat the time away. Autumn is the zip and energy of a new chill in the air, putting on a long sleeve shirts, walking through the woods enjoying the reds and yellows of the leaves crunching the fallen ones underfoot, and making pumpkin pie. Winter is standard time, decorating and shopping for holidays, enjoying the New Year’s Parade, and hot chocolate with cookies sitting on a couch wrapped up in an afghan watching a movie. These are the rhythms that are precious to me, that I share with the people I love and hope to pass on to my daughter. I think it will happen. “It’s spring!” she announced today as we made our way to the playground this afternoon. “It’s not winter!” Yes, I told her, you're right. The calendar may not say so yet, but to me today is the first day of spring this year.