In the words of my favourite spring song, the Beatles' Here Comes the Sun; "It's been a long, cold lonely winter. Little Darling. It feels like years since it's been here." Such a long drawn out winter we've had, here in Ottawa and right across the country.
And so I rejoice, along with everyone else, at the simple changes in lifestyle these past couple of weeks have given us: the joy of walking outside without shoving feet into winter boots, walking on bare sidewalks, sitting on the front verandah again.
Lately, I've been reading some of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency stories. While some readers might find these short novels simple and slow moving, I enjoy them. His slow paced storytelling, with vivid descriptions of life in Botswana and keen observations on human nature provide a charming and comfortable read. That "slow down and take time to smell the roses" philosophy is worth repeating. Is it not similar to some of the comments made following Jim Flaherty's unexpected death last week?
McCall Smith closes Blue Shoes and Happiness with a few wishes for a happy life, "It is important just to be able to sit and think. ...There should be some time for work and some for play....And some for sitting and watching the sun go up and down....And some time for listening to the cattle bells in the bush.."
Perhaps this appreciation for the simple pleasures of life is rubbing off on me, for last night I went to sleep feeling very grateful for two spring items: cotton sheets and open windows. At long last we have stripped our bed of the fluffy flannelette sheets we have burrowed under all winter and happily replaced them with their cotton counterparts . With the screen newly installed in our window, I opened it wide to let in the fresh air and sounds of outside. What a treat!
Our bedroom is small and simple. Some of the monster homes being built in our neighbourhood feature master bedrooms as big as bowling alleys with their accompanying walk in closets and ensuite bathrooms. On the street next to us, the owner of such a room, remarked to our friends, who lived next door, in their regular-sized home, "We just really need a lot of room, so we have two queen beds pushed together."
Anyhow, my needs are not that grandiose. Give me fresh cotton sheets on our bed, right close to the open window and I am a very happy camper.
Last week on Rewind, CBC's look back at old radio shows, Michael Enright played some signs of spring that listeners had sent in to Peter Gzowski's Morningside show, many years ago. My favourite was one sent in by an emergency room nurse. She remarked that, "It must be spring because we just pulled the first pussy willow out of a toddlers' nose."