Dancing Cow Day

I’m already longing for Spring.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already longing for spring. So when I read about this delightful spring tradition in Denmark, it made me even more proud of being of Danish descent. In fact, my Danish grandfather was a dairy farmer.

According to this wonderful book I’m reading, “The Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell, every year many Danes come out to celebrate Dancing Cow Day. I’m charmed that people find this entertaining enough to make a day of it. If I were there I’d be right in the heart of that crowd, without a doubt. And I can think of no better harbinger of spring.

It seems that in order for these cows to be certified organic in that country, they have to be outside eating grass for at least 6 hours a day between April and November. The rest of the time they are kept in the warm barn because it gets really, really cold in Denmark.

Because of this, all the organic cows in the country are let out for the first time at pretty much the same time. And they are so happy to be running free and eating fresh grass again and seeing the natural sunlight that they actually dance for joy. It’s really amazing to watch. Just go to Youtube and do a search for dancing cows and you’ll see a bunch of videos. They’ll make you happy.

I love that this spectacle draws crowds, and that it’s looked upon as a family event and a chance to have a picnic even though it’s still usually cold. I love that this bovine bash is celebrated by both the humans and the cows alike. I love the greater context of marking the passage of time and celebrating a new season. Most of all, I love the idea of spring fever writ large.

So mark your calendars. If you ever have the third Sunday in April free, get thee to Denmark and dance with the cows! No doubt about it: This is a new item on my bucket list.

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Spring Fever in the COVID Era

It’s more about the Fever and less about the Spring this year.

I just watched two people get into a shoving match on the sidewalk of my bridge. Apparently the masked one felt that the unmasked one had gotten too close. But now the cautious one just touched the incautious one with his hands. That was probably not the best idea.

I’ve also seen two women get into a shouting match over the last bag of flour at the grocery store. I thought they were going to throw down right on the spot. I beat a hasty retreat before the flour had a chance to fly.

I’ve had several absurd misunderstandings with friends on social media this past week. Some were a matter of me losing patience with ignorance that I’d normally let slide. In some cases I suspect alcohol was involved, and there’s no reasoning with that. Still others were the result of me shooting off my mouth and having to apologize afterward. It’s as if everyone’s nerves are on the surface of their skin.

This year’s spring fever is more about the fever and less about the spring. The usual excitement this time of year has turned into restlessness and frustration. Social distancing is turning into emotional distancing. People are really starting to lose the plot. I don’t know about you, but there’s only so much I can take.

We have to remember that we’re all afraid. Some of us fear for our lives, others fear for their livelihood. Many fear for both.

Many of us realize that the scary statistics only relate to confirmed cases, and not very many of us have been tested. Have you? I sure haven’t. That, and a lot of countries are under-reporting because they feel that the truth would make them look bad. And a lot of people are dying at home, and the health care system simply can’t keep track. No one really has a clue as to how flat the curve actually is.

No matter where you stand on the issue, one thing is certain: we all want this to be over. If only wishing could make it so. If only declarations from our so-called leaders would make COVID disappear. But there’s no happily ever after in our immediate future. This will not be a sprint or even a marathon. It will be a long, heavy slog.

We’re just going to have to make an extra effort to be patient with one another. We’re going to have to avoid shoving matches and flour fights. We need to engage in radical self-care. We need to realize that there’s no force on earth that will make the deniers do the same, so we’ll just have to give them a wide berth and hope that the fittest will survive.

And for those of us who feel we’re not coping by intestinal fortitude alone, there are resources out there, and I strongly urge you to take advantage of them. A longtime reader of this blog (Hi Lyn!) sent me a very useful link entitled COVID-19 and Your Mental Health, and it’s full of a ton of helpful advice and lists of organizations that are waiting to assist you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

We can do this. It may not be pretty and it definitely won’t be fun, but we can do this. I promise.

end-of-your-rope

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Restless

The sun is shining and I feel like I’m emerging from the hibernation that is induced by a Seattle winter. I want to get outside and explore! I want to hop on a plane! I want to roll around naked in a field of flowers!

Yeah. That’s not going to happen.

Weather notwithstanding, I still have a job that expects my attendance, and bills to pay and garbage to drag out to the curb. Life has this annoying habit of going on.

I am looking forward to getting off work and spending a few hours each day basking in the sun in my back yard with Quagmire, though. That’s my warm weather Seattle routine. Me and Quag, just the two of us. We can make it if we try.

I’m also looking forward to going to the farmer’s market every week again. And I plan to take Quagmire to the dog park more often. And there’s so much in this town and state that I’ve yet to see. Maybe I’ll do some of that, too.

This restlessness is Spring fever, I know. And it’s also the realization that I’m not getting any younger and there’s so much I still want to do. And the fact that I’d really rather not do all these things alone, and yet here I am, alone, means that I feel like all my nerves are on the surface of my skin.

Gaaaaaah!

spring1

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Spring is in the Air

I’ve been feeling restless of late. I want to get out and explore. I want to go places and do things. I want to have some fun. I want to go zip lining! I want my life to begin again.

The problem is, the weather is still crap. Sometimes I think if I don’t see the sun soon, I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind. And I don’t really have anyone to do things with. It’s frustrating. I have all this energy that’s not getting expelled. It makes me fidget. I’ve recently started shaking my leg again, which is a bad habit I had in high school.

What is going on with me? Is this just sexual frustration writ large? A delayed mid-life crisis? Too much caffeine?

And then I look in my front yard and notice that the azaleas and rhododendrons are all in bud. They’re on the verge of bursting forth in riots of color. Any day now. Change.

Spring fever. Now I get it.

Rhododendron

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Spring!!!

Today is the first day of spring, and I couldn’t be more excited. You have to understand, I haven’t seen spring in 40 years. In Florida we had two seasons: Summer and January. So this is a huge deal for me.

Even the thought of breaking out a different set of clothes has me grinning like an idiot. And I love that things (including me) actually look different from one season to the next here. Maybe you take that for granted, but I gaze upon the blooming flowers where a few weeks ago there were none, and I see it as the natural miracle that it is.

I even ran out and bought a bunch of flowering plants and planted them in the yard of my rental house. And I hate yard work. I’m not sure my landlord will be thrilled that I’m digging holes in the yard, so mum’s the word. (Pardon the pun.)

And I made it through a winter! I had my doubts. (Especially when the heater died in my car.) The ever-shortening days felt ominous and unnatural to me.

But we’ve come out the other side! Joy! Life! Renewal! A visible marker of the passage of time! Is this what spring fever feels like? I’d forgotten. I feel like taking off my clothes and rolling naked amongst the tulips. And that’s a problem, because there’s a tulip festival in my near future…

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[Image credit: imgarcade.com]