A Spring in Your Step!
Karen and Jay celebrate the joyous feeling that ‘spring is in the air!'
There’s a certain optimism that comes around this time of year. Spring arrives and suddenly everything comes alive. Flowers begin to blossom. We begin to emerge from the long winter and connect with friends. Once again, we begin to enjoy the great outdoors. And most of all, we experience an unmistakable feeling that good things lie ahead. A positive energy that puts a spring in every step!
When we say, "spring is in the air," it captures the feeling of excitement and anticipation that comes with the arrival of spring. It suggests that there is a noticeable change in the atmosphere as nature begins to awaken from its winter slumber. With the warmer temperatures, we’re able to trade our winter coats for lighter clothing, and the fresh blooms fill the air with the smell of new growth that contributes to the feeling of freshness and renewal. Spring marks a time of new beginnings, where each of us can begin new projects or make changes in our lives we may have been waiting to make in the spring. Spring can inspire us to live our lives to the fullest.
After a long, dark winter, the arrival of spring brings warmer temperatures and the sight of new life bursting forth from the earth. Throughout the world and in many cultures, spring is also associated with the idea of rebirth, resurrection, and renewal. For example, in Christian traditions, Easter was recently celebrated, symbolizing the triumph of life over death. Spring is also the time when many plants begin to bud and blossom, animals emerge from hibernation, and longer days give each of us a sense of hope and optimism for the future, the signal of a fresh start and a new beginning.
And with this new season of renewal and hope, how can we capitalize on such an unprecedented moment? While winter presents us with its challenges, spring brings opportunity. We’d be remiss if we didn’t utilize spring as a chance to take all that we’ve learned from the past year and begin transforming these lessons into a positive force for ourselves, our family, our friends, or our community.
I’m reminded of a story someone once shared with me about a young artist who had lost a collection of her favorite paintings during a very difficult winter that set her career back. Spring had finally arrived, and though still feeling saddened, she decided one day to try to brighten her mood by picking up a brush again near a local stream. As she painted the natural landscape, she noticed an older man sitting not too far from her and invited him to sit next to her as she painted. She worked tirelessly for days, using vibrant colors and intricate brushstrokes to bring her vision to life, and every day, the old man would come and join her. When she finally finished the painting, she gifted it to the old man to his delight. The joy and pride she felt knowing the paintings she created that spring brought similar joy to another person inspired her to continue painting, hoping that it might also inspire others. Sure enough, years later, she became a well-known artist, selling her paintings the world over. But it was that spring, and the old man’s joy, that had inspired her to create something beautiful and meaningful even in the face of a difficult moment.
Put a spring in your step and enjoy this wonderful season to the fullest!
It’s Mud Season!
The unofficial 5th season in New Hampshire is upon us and rather than being stuck in the mud, the people of the Granite State embrace it and find opportunities to enjoy this transitional time!
Mud Season typically runs from early April into May here in NH. As temperatures start to rise, the snow begins to melt while the ground thaws, and the dirt and snow come together in a beautiful way to create mud - literally everywhere. This event mainly takes place among the northeast states of the Appalachian Trail, but if you are driving the back roadways in the Granite State you can often see it off to the side. So, what do Granite Staters do during this season? We do some really cool things, let's take a look.
Outdoor baseball, softball and track get started. And informal springtime activities as well. For instance, I remember playing pickup games of baseball as a kid, and along with my younger brother, always trying to find some terrain where we could find some good footing and make sure the ball wouldn’t get wet. Especially, because typically it was the only ball we owned.
For avid outdoor enthusiasts, hiking and mountain biking are among the highlights. People are able to get outdoors and hit the trails - and often the mud. And with Earth Day on April 22nd, it’s one more chance to get out and get your hands dirty whether planting trees, doing cleanups or recycling - it’s all well and good, sort of clean fun!
Up in Dalton, New Hampshire, if you have a ‘need for speed,’ you can test your skills in a rally car. The Team O'Neil Rally School teamoneil.com not only teaches safe driving in tough terrains but gives you the chance to get behind the wheel of a rally car and take to the mud to spin, twist and turn. Please check out their website as the courses are open and you can sign up now. But for those not wanting to get a car dirty (especially not your own) you can always take to the ATV trails of the North Country.
And looking ahead, all of this ‘playing’ in the mud will get you prepared for the Tough Mudder which is coming to New England in June. There is so much to do in this current Mud Season, so let’s get mudding!
Spring Cleaning – New Hampshire Tradition and Beyond
Have you ever wondered how and where the custom of spring cleaning came to be? Especially as it has been observed here in New Hampshire and in many cultures around the world for many, many years. While the specific customs and traditions associated with spring cleaning vary from culture to culture, the underlying theme of clearing out the old and welcoming the new is a common thread.
In many cultures, spring cleaning is associated with the renewal and rebirth of the natural world that takes place in springtime. For the ancient Persians, the Spring Equinox which typically falls around March 21st, is celebrated as the beginning of a new year as well as a time for deep cleaning of the home. In China, the tradition of sweeping the home in preparation for the Lunar New Year, which usually falls between late January and mid-February, has been observed for centuries. It is believed that by doing so you are sweeping away bad luck and making way for good fortune.
Across the pond in Europe, the tradition of spring cleaning can be traced back to the Middle Ages. During this time, the arrival of spring meant that the weather was warm enough to open windows and doors, allowing fresh air to circulate throughout the home. This was also the time when people would typically wash their curtains, carpets, and other household items that had been closed up during the winter months.
In the United States, spring cleaning became more widespread in the 19th century as urbanization and industrialization saw more people living in apartments and homes with less ventilation. This made it important to thoroughly clean the home at least once a year to prevent the buildup of dust, molds, and other pollutants.
In early New Hampshire, spring cleaning became popular as a way to rid homes of the dirt and soot that had accumulated during the long winter months when homes were heated with coal and wood stoves. It was also a time for families to clean and organize their homes in preparation for the warmer months ahead.
In recent years, spring cleaning has taken on a new meaning as people have become more conscious of the importance of decluttering and minimizing their possessions. The trend toward minimalism and simplicity has led many people to view spring cleaning as an opportunity to let go of items that are no longer useful or meaningful and to create a more simplified and intentional living space.
So, although we're already into the Spring season, it's not too late as you have until June 21st to refresh and toss those things that might be cluttering your physical, mental, and spiritual space all of which will enable you to become open to new possibilities in the new year!
Positive Profile of the Week: Augusta Petrone
This week we are delighted to highlight a wonderful friend, a truly optimistic spirit and an American leader in so very many ways, the one and only Augusta Petrone.
There is no one more kind, considerate and upbeat than Augusta. She exudes a positive energy. If you have ever been fortunate enough to be in her presence, you know exactly what I am talking about. Moreover, she has a deep caring and supportive nature. Augusta’s commitment to seeing people succeed is a big part of who she is and somehow, she finds time to do it again and again.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Augusta worked hard and become an extremely accomplished American educator. She studied and taught all over the world including Paris and Korea. After her years abroad, she would find herself back stateside and with her late husband Joseph, dedicating their energies to help advance our national interests. Involved in politics, supporting our veterans and devoted to a positive future for America.
Augusta’s involvement in politics actually began in Iowa where she served as the Marshall County Chair for Ronald Reagan for both his ‘76 and ‘80 campaigns. In the ‘84 re-election, Augusta served as the state’s co-chair for the Reagan-Bush campaign. She and her husband Ambassador Joseph Petrone, then went on to represent the United States in Geneva during the Reagan Administration.
Today, Augusta proudly resides in her family home in Dublin, New Hampshire. Known as the Knollwood Farm, it was built in 1899. This one-of-a-kind home has amazing views and every mud season you will find Augusta opening rooms, getting ready for warmer weather, and checking on the property’s vineyard. In case you didn't know, Augusta is also a wine expert and takes matters into her own hands by making her own wine.
Her home is full of so much of the history that has shaped American politics over the years. Knollwood Farm was owned by the U.S. Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeagh who once hosted President William Howard Taft. During the presidential cycle, leaders from across the country continue to be welcomed and to experience ‘the New Hampshire test’ as Augusta hosts candidate after candidate for events and town halls with her fellow Republicans and neighbors.
Augusta has a heart of gold and there is no one more committed to seeing others succeed. She defines the human spirit of helping thy neighbor and is someone Karen and I to cherish as one of our very dearest friends!
Quotes of the Week: Spring is in the Air!
"Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'" - Robin Williams
"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." - Margaret Atwood
"Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is." - Jessica Harrelson
"Spring is the time of plans and projects." - Leo Tolstoy
"No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow." - Proverb