That's the best word to describe the general state of our weather this winter, and it seems to be carrying over into this makeshift of a spring season. This morning the wind whipped around the north side of the house like a twister, rattling the very window panes like the angriest of March lions.
But wait - it's APRIL.
I wonder what the climate change experts are making of these prevailing winds? Perhaps we should be investing in wind turbines after all.
Today's temperatures are somewhat seasonable, but yesterday was winter redux. Thirty-seven blustery degrees for a high, with not a whimper of sunshine in sight. Nevertheless, I took a leap of faith yesterday and flipped my closet, meaning I transferred all the winter clothes to the the winter closet, discarding an entire 30 gallon plastic sackful in the process. Haven't worn it all year? Gone. Worn it but unhappy whilst wearing it? Into the sack.
Then I did the same with my spring clothes. The remaining pieces are now hanging, color coordinated, in my closet. And if I have a moment's panic that there are only half a dozen t-shirts left instead of three dozen, I remember that for most of the winter I wore the same four shirts over and over again.
I have become ruthless - RUTHLESS, I tell you - when it comes to paring down. I do believe my husband and dogs are frightened of me when I get into "pitch it" mode. They huddle up together on the couch, trying to disappear as if afraid they too will get tossed into the nearest bin.
Of course they're safe, but I really have completely embraced the concept of less-is-more, especially since moving into this house. We have lived here over six months now, and I figure that anything I haven't missed yet I'm not going to miss. Yes I only have one set of dishes, but that's really all I need. Instead of 30 different coffee mugs stacked precariously in the cupboard, I have six and that has been plenty. I feel lighter all over without so much stuff taking up space in every corner of my house. (Yes, Deb Smouse, you are spot-on again!)
There are two things that I have trouble tossing - one is books (although I give A LOT of books to our local library book sale) and the other is pictures. Even though nearly all of our new photographs are stored digitally, I have hundreds of old printed ones that I can't bring myself to throw away. I know I could have them digitized, but I like having them in their original format. Happily, they've all found a home inside a wicker storage chest in the basement.
As for books..well, even thought I have plenty of empty shelf space in the "library," there are some books I won't have any qualms about consigning to the book sale. I am reading one right now (well, I was reading it until I finally said 'enough') in which the "hero" is such a slimy, self-serving windbag that I can hardly wait to drop it into the big wooden bin for donations at the library. "Pitch it" mode, indeed.
Now I'm cleansing my mind's palate with the latest Peter Robinson mystery, featuring DI Alan Banks. If you've never read this series, I highly recommend. My husband and I both enjoy these books (which is a rare occurrence - usually our reading tastes never intersect). Watching the Dark is the 20th volume, and it's starting out to be just as well-written and compelling as the rest. Robinson masterfully weaves a lot of stories together in his books, and the narrative of Banks, his family, and his colleagues carries through from book to book which I always enjoy. Plus, they're all set in Robinson's native England - another plus for this closet Anglophile.
The thought of England brings me to thoughts of special places, which I've been contemplating this morning at the behest of my friend Bella Cirovic, and her lovely online group 30 Days in April. "Where is the place that you go outside of your home that is your special spot?" Last year that questions was easier to answer - our home in Florida was always a retreat from the world, a place where everything was pretty and clean and new. And even though I couldn't get there every day (or even every week!), just knowing it was waiting for me got me through some rough times.
Bella's right -we need "special spots" to go when the winds get too blustery and life is too cluttered. Spots where the air is calm and clean, and there is space to stretch your arms out wide and breath deeply. I've claimed that kind of space inside my house by clearing away clutter and making room to be still.
But there is value in having a place outside and away to retreat and renew, because those concepts work in tandem. And so I am on a quest now for a new place that fills my spirit with calm and peace and hope. Maybe it will be as close as the pond behind the house, or as far away as the undulating green hills of southern England.
Maybe the wind will take me there.