What is it about these moderate seasons of transition that inspire cleaning and organization? The overhaul at the start of spring is more famous than its younger cousin who usually just gets referred to as "new school supplies." Also, if spring signals new life, fall correspondingly signals the beginning of death. But in terms of detox and starting anew, I dare say it goes further than books and rulers; maybe it's the American system, but the start of a new school year is so hopeful. In theory, kids start the year with a clean slate; in theory, teachers start the year with ambitious organizational plans. Everyone's excited, eager, well-rested, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Borrowing from this energy, I up and mopped our floors last weekend and got four bags of clothes ready for charity this past weekend (thanks to a mailing for the most convenient charity ever). I feel revitalized, not to mention my new habits of yoga and, um, art class. What is it, that coming out of these severe weather seasons, we feel so... ready? Or at least, ready to get ready? Wouldn't you imagine that it should be the opposite, that we should really gear ourselves up and freshen all these aspects in preparation for the most extremes of cold and hot, that just as we are about to spend time indoors with central air conditioning and heat, then we should declutter and reorganize? Maybe it has less to do with the seasons in particular and is just a function of every six months. Subtract the school year, and it could simply be a semiannual urge to clean up and reinvent? We do (or, are supposed to) go to the dentist every six months, and no matter the pain, it is always a triumphant moment to celebrate one's responsibility and mature attention to hygiene.
I can't decide which it is, and I certainly don't know why this hits us all, but I am very glad for its far-reaching effects. And I can't help but notice the apt phrase, turning over a new leaf, can easily belong to either season.