Change of seasons, change of bathmat


Terry is going a bit stir crazy.

As all of us in long-term relationships understand, there are certain little things we can use for checking in on our significant others. Some of these signs tell us they need a hug… some tell us to get the heck out of the way.

Right now, Terry needs a bit of fresh air and a few days off.

Nothing unusual there. In fact, a sunshiny day and a relaxing couple of hours sounds like a nice prescription for everyone.

What gave it away?

Terry wants to change up the bathroom. New rugs… new shower curtain… maybe a bit of paint and a new set of shelves.

Like all of you, I have stuff stored in various places around the home. And in our basement are several storage containers with wonderfully descriptive labels like: “mauve”… “blue”… green”… and “tropical”. If you looked inside of them, you would find all the bathmats and toothbrush holders you could ever possibly imagine might reside in the same house.

For the most part, I get it. As is the case with just about every plan or thought Terry shares with me, in the end she’s absolutely right. Changing things up clears the head and freshens things up in ways that really defy all description and logic. It’s different… fun… kind of a shiver and shake for doldrums. It’s a visual stimulus that wakes you up, and even in just a small way can cheer you up.

About thirty years ago, I was sitting in an office.

At the time, I was going to school in Syracuse, New York. It is often said about this fine city that there are two seasons – winter and July 4th. Funny joke. And as you may have heard, the best jokes are built upon a bit of truth.

In the back of the offices was a washer and dryer. Happened to be a fairly decent day out by Syracuse standards, with us emerging from the winter season. A few windows were open, and the absolutely amazing scent of Downey came floating into the office on a cool breeze.

That treat brought me immediately back to my childhood. My parents and grandparents (and many neighbors) used to hang more clothes from the laundry than they placed in the dryer. And after being shut in the house for the cold and the snow, those first waves of Downey in the air coming from the clothes on the line provided much more than a signal that the laundry was almost done.

That scent is magical elixir that jostles the mind out of a chill-infused blues. It provides a sign that the days were getting longer… and warmer… and the outdoors was calling like an expected but long overdue friend.

Terry has been on the hunt for a new shower curtain. I’m watching the weather forecasts and figure I just might be able to head into the yard and set up our clothesline at some point perhaps only a few weeks from now.

A new bathmat and Downey in the air. No surer signs of a welcome new season.

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