Happy Spring! As the average day lengthens and the earliest flowers start to bloom, we can tell that spring is on its way. In this post, I will help you understand how to celebrate the return to spring in your life, home, and garden using a seasonal living perspective.
What is seasonal living?
For me, seasonal living is the practice of intentionally aligning my actions and energy with nature. It’s a mindfulness practice of slowing myself down to live within the same rhythm as the plants and animals in my environment.
It is spring again. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.Rainer Maria Rilke
Why would someone want to live seasonally?
Personally, I struggle with a lot of depression and anxiety. I’m a natural overthinker & over processor whose mind just spins constantly. I stress especially about feeling like time is passing too quickly and that life is rushing by me.
I found that the year I felt the most grounded, I worked on a farm from early Spring through late Fall. All of the actions of my days were tailored around the natural world.
In the Spring, we spent more time working with seeds, plant starts, weeding, etc. We fixed up greenhouses and set up systems for the busier days of fall. We prepped new beds and harvested overwintered crops or the earliest radishes and greens.
In the summer, the days stretched out longer and the workload gradually intensified. The sun was brighter, the earliest spring greens bolted with the extra daylight. We started picking buckets of snap peas and hearty root vegetables.
Towards the end of summer, the farm had more work to do than hours in the day. We were digging potatoes, harvesting bins of squash, climbing under tomato vines to pick the ripest ones, spending hours picking beans, etc.
Simple lessons learned by living seasonally
There are so many lessons learned when you live seasonally. I really had to push against my desire for things to happen immediately. You literally cannot rush a seed to sprout. You might be able to adjust the growing conditions to make it happen a little faster, but there’s just a natural speed a plant follows that you cannot force.
Your workload also changes. There are times of rest (winter), planting (spring), blooming & fruiting (summer), and harvesting & tapering back into rest (fall).
When your days align with the natural world around you, when your senses start to be in tune with and anticipate how the plants are responding to changes in the environment, something stills inside of you.
That year farming was the calmest and most grounded I ever felt. I was able to let go of the rush and stress and chaos of my inner world and time passed at the just-right speed.
“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
Ideas for Living Seasonally in the Spring
Slow your mind to reflect on the world around you. Your natural environment will look different from my own, although we will likely have many overlaps.
In the Spring, I notice…
- Daylight begins to lengthen for longer days & more sunshine
- The earliest flowers begin to bloom (crocuses, daffodils, narcissus, etc)
- Birds start swooping and singing loudly
- Buds slowly form on the flowering trees
- My overwintered kale starts to show buds that will grow into raab
- The ground softens up from the warmth of the sun
- Temperatures alternate between freezing and warm, sunny days
- Grass starts to grow again and fill in bare spots
- Rainy weather fills ponds and nourishes spring plants
- Sap rises in trees for tapping
- Chickens start producing more eggs
How to celebrate Spring in your life
Spring is the season of conception & birth. Although there are some plants that show us their blooms right now, most plants are digging deep into the earth, spreading their roots and taking in nutrients. New life has started, but most of it is invisible to the eye.
Imbolc (February 1st) is a northern hemisphere Celtic tradition of celebrating the time between winter and spring. It lands halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox and it translates to “in the belly,” reflecting how the earth is newly pregnant with the seeds and promised growth of spring.
Spring Equinox (March 20 or 21) is when the northern hemisphere starts tilting towards the sun in the earth’s revolution around the sun. This increases sunlight and warmth, leading us towards summer. Learn more about the vernal equinox here.
Other holidays, traditions, and benchmarks of spring include Easter, Ostara, Holi, Purim, Passover, and many others. You will often see images of, eggs, bunnies, flowers, and other indicators of life growing.
If you’re looking for ways to connect to your ancestral traditions and folkways, Be sure to check out the book Root & Ritual.
Spring Shifts in the Garden
Start setting up the systems and structures you’ll need in the summer when life gets even busier and more intense. Spring chores might look like weeding, prepping your garden beds, installing a hoop house or season extender, adding another garden bed, starting seeds, etc.
If you keep any plants indoors, you may want to consider repotting any to ensure room for new root growth.
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”Margaret Atwood
Preparing for Spring in Your Home
There’s a reason why “spring cleaning” is a thing. The weather is warmer, the sun is shining (sometimes). Open some windows, shake out some rugs, declutter some cabinets, etc.
With the increase in daylight, a lot of us will notice our energy levels start to rise. Our bodies want to do more things and we’ll naturally start wanting to tidy up and organize our spaces.
Be gentle with yourself, though. Don’t force yourself to go above and beyond. If you feel a natural inclination to tidy and organize, go for it!
Typically in the Spring, I find myself wanting to start home projects like painting, updating old furniture, baking with sourdough, and fermenting.
Ready to refresh your space? Read these posts for tips!
Eating with the Season
Look for local food. Many farmers’ markets reopen around April, so this is a great time to see what produce is being harvested and connect with others in your community.
The freshest foods will be the earliest, most tender greens. When our farmers market reopens in April, most of what you’ll see are foods like these:
- Salad greens
- Spring onions
- Salad turnips
As spring continues, you’ll start to see the harvest selection broaden significantly to include fresh spring carrots, new potatoes, peas, beets, rhubarb, cut herbs, nettles, fiddleheads, cauliflower, broccoli, and plenty more.
You will also likely find some overwintered crops from the season before like root vegetables, onions, garlic, and storage fruits.
Aligning Your Life & Energy to Spring
One challenge we struggle with when trying to live seasonally is that our world requires us to act like it is summer all the time. We are so obsessed with productivity, efficiency, making, doing, earning, growing, etc. We internalize that pressure and push ourselves to perform at our highest levels all the time.
But…that’s not natural.
It’s also not sustainable and it is not a reflection of nature. I want to remind you that we are nature. We are animals living in the natural world. Listen to the soft, warm, animal part of yourself.
You are like the bear.
You are like the clover.
You are like the rose bush.
The human body knows how to live with the seasons. Humans have lived in alignment with the natural world for a very long time. Trust in your body to show you how to honor the shift in seasons.
If this sounds bizarre or strange to you, just sit with it. Why does it feel funny? Where does that reaction come from?
Spring Reflection Prompts
- What are some seeds you could plant in your work and personal life? What are some systems, projects, or changes you would like to initiate this year?
- How could you temper your energy to find a place between the rest of winter and the action of summer?
- Have you found ways to honor your intention for the year? If so, how can you celebrate that? If not, how can you adjust your course?
- How was your energy level changed since the darkest days of winter?
- What sort of activities are you finding yourself drawn to?
- Has your mood or outlook started to shift?
- Is there a way you could carry this sense of spring and new life into your work?
Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.Gustav Mahler
Spring Activities to Enjoy
Attend your farmers market’s opening day.
Open the windows on a warm, sunny day and air out your home.
Wash bed linens, reorganize cupboards, and tackle some decluttering projects.
Bring nature into your home with freshly cut locally grown spring flowers.
Find time to be in nature on hikes or walks.
Notice and celebrate all the blooms, buds, and new growth.
Find a local dairy to try bright yellow cheeses made from cows finally back on pasture.
Track the shift in daylight.
Make a sourdough starter or try fermenting something!
Grow something inside or outdoors.
Look for ways to be outdoors with friends and family.
Try a new herbal tea with bright citrus or fruity flavors.
Host a small gathering of friends for a maker’s party (make a craft, DIY, or food together).
However you decide to celebrate, I hope you feel some of the bright joy and promise of spring! It’s such a positive and exciting time of year. Take advantage of any chance at joy and fun life offers you.
The best celebration of spring is to just enjoy being alive on this beautiful planet.
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