Updated: Jun 24, 2019
Well, it may be hard to believe that spring is just around the corner--the snow is literally falling past the window as I write. We're expecting about 6 inches from this Nor'easter, mild for New England winter and not at all unusual for March. We can all agree begrudgingly that the month does indeed come in like a lion. Nonetheless, we will be springing the clocks forward next week and the days have already begun to grow longer. Owen Farm just posted photos of their newborn lambs! (https://www.facebook.com/owenfarmnh)
Although I do have an appreciation for the hygge of winter's hot mulled cider and fleecy blankets, there is something equally hyggelig about the freshness of spring. I can't pretend that my home is the epitome of cleanliness, but I do find it has become a part of my routine to seize the first clean, breezy spring day to open all the windows in the house and let all the stuffy air out. The invigorating, sharp, crisp air flows into every dark and dusty corner, bringing with it a reminiscence of citrus, a suggestion of blossom, charged with the extra fuel of golden sunlight. I follow behind it, singing along to Norah Jones radio under the vacuum's hum. Perhaps my least and most favorite spring cleaning chore of all is scrubbing out the bathtub because it's so tiresome, but the instant gratification of bathing in a sparkling tub nearly makes it worthwhile-- especially if you make that bath fit for a queen with essential oils and lotions and maybe even a good read!
As most of you know, I strive continuously to be a better advocate for the earth and to lead by example. While I clean and sort, I look for ways to reduce and reuse, and if I must replace, to replace with a better alternative. The more I try to get in better habits, the more I start to wonder how we became so set in our harmful ways, and why we remain so stubbornly, steadfastly loyal to a world of disposable, single use garbage that has only been around for less than two centuries. I'll be the first to admit, it wasn't easy to begin observing the ways I was being wasteful or to change. As a busy creature of habit, I often sought convenience, speed, and maximum efficiency in accomplishing one task to the next. However, when one purposely slows down a bit, one really begin to live and enjoy the process and think a little more on what is being done and why. For years, I "ran on Dunkin" like most New Englanders. To be honest, I couldn't tell you why. The coffee wasn't good, often made me feel sluggish and sick, my order was never right, and the plastic cup and lid left a mess of sticky syrup and pools of condensation all over my car. Now, I can't remember the last time I got a coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. I buy smooth, aromatic coffee grounds from local coffee shops like A&E Coffee and Tea (https://aeroastery.com/) and start my morning with the slow, sleepy task of setting up the coffee pot while I bustle around the kitchen. I pour the freshly brewed coffee into my personalized thermos, custom made for me by a fellow crafter (https://www.facebook.com/LittleHohmies/)
and enjoy a sense of ownership. Ownership of this lovely thermos that was designed for me, of the coffee that I prepared myself exactly as I like, and the knowledge that my money was recycled into the community toward other families working toward their hopes and dreams just like me.
It started with the coffee cup. And then it took off. Now I happily look for new and exciting ways to replace the disposable plastic junk in my home for clean living, nontoxic, eco-friendly alternatives that are even better than their predecessors. A friend gifted me some lovely blown glass straws a few weeks ago, sturdy and dishwasher safe, decorated with nimble colored dots like lampwork beads. Another friend invited me to a Norwex party, and I replaced my disposable kitchen sponge with a bacteria-resistant cleaning cloth that I can toss into the washer and reuse. After watching The Devil We Know about the harmful effects of PFOAs in Teflon, I decided it might not hurt to donate our aging pots and pans and replace them with ceramic Greenware. (And for good measure, I replaced our plastic tupperware with glass as well). Perhaps the crowning jewel of this week's eco-conscious alternatives was a happy 'find' I'd been searching for in a local shop in Nashua called Tangled Roots--a sparkling decorative metal car air freshener, made like a locket to hold a felt pad seasoned liberally with your choice of essential oils! Imagine my delight! No more ugly plastic chemical concoctions clipped to the air vent!
I've heard it all before--'what difference is one little straw going to make?' (Said 3 billion people, but I digress...) 'But I recycle...' 'Who cares? I like my convenience!' 'I know I shouldn't but I just really like/need my [coffee cup, straw, plastic bag]'. But I always ask, what could it hurt? When you think of the magnitude that every piece of plastic that we've ever used as a human race--that we've ever encountered--still exists in this world, and will continue to exist basically forever...what could it hurt? What if it wasn't just one more straw, one more bag? What if we all tried just a little harder? What if we slowed down and enjoyed our processes? What if we spent just a few more minutes preparing our coffee, smelling the aroma as we shuffled about in the pre-dawn hours while our home was just waking up? What if we carried our cloth bags to and from the farmer's market where we greeted our neighbors in the spring sunshine and they knew us by name? What if we strolled through the small shops on Main Street without checking the time and marveled over unique and worldly finds? What if we learned not to take for granted, but to take care of? What if we had our little collection of belongings--our bags, our bottles, our jars, our mugs--that we washed in warm soapy water at the end of the day and set out to dry, or packed away in closets and cupboards, familiar and comfortable, where they would wait to greet us loyally? What if? What could it hurt?
When you feel the first stirrings of spring wherever you may be, and the light of another changing season brightens your days, think about any habits you could clean up as you dust off the cobwebs and air out the pillows. Remember your impact on this world in the fleeting moment you are present in it, and consider which small change you could make today.
We've been a bit behind on our March New England collection release while adjusting to new scheduling but rest assured it's on its way and will be up shortly with another fantastic photo from Dennis Weeks. We've also put the finishing touches on our new March/April Limited Edition lotion, which will be released this week!! (As always, in a reusable glass jar!) We also have some spring canvas reusable totes on the way. Stay tuned!