Saturday, May 26, 2012

The hinge of the year

It's late May, which means we can feel one half of the year yield to the other.  The long months of cold now bend away, as the warm season swings forward.  There's no holiday at this point, no celestial pointer; it's simply the quiet divider of the year, a hinge from one to the next.

I recalled this when realizing it was time to do our interseasonal stuff move.  Well, a week past time, actually, but we finally had all of us and an hour.

Here's how it works.  We have a very small house, with little storage space.  So we turned the basement's crawlspace into a storage area some years back.  This meant cleaning out junk, laying down boards to walk upon (underneath is simply dirt), hanging up lights, and building a vapor barrier with the rest of the basement (t keep traces of moisture out, and heat in).  Then we transferred items down there which we didn't use daily, or didn't touch all year long.  It's a hack, but a very handy one, as it frees up space in the rest of the house and gives us a little organizational layer - making us thing in terms of long-term cycles.

So today we uncracked this DiY main storage unit, opening the barrier and putting steps in place - the latter, because the crawlspace's floor is two feet up from the rest of the basement, and there's a low, concrete wall to boot.  All was in order, so we went to work on the half-year hinge.

  • Taking out: a dehumidifier, several fans, our trusty (and muscle-powered) lawnmower.
  • Putting away: snowshoes, criminally underused during our weirdly snow-free winter.  Ski poles, and showshovels, ditto, including the extra-long roof rake pieces.  A heating unit, used during the cold months.
Such reflections these objects inspire, as we haul them between storage unit and the rest of the house.  Just how bizarrely snow-free our winter was comes to mind as I handle my snowshoes, so much bigger than the rest of the family's. We didn't have long daylight tromps, nor emergency night-time ploddings.  Those ski poles never came in handy.

And now the freshly extracted items bring home what summer and early fall will be: a little humid.  Warm, on the house's upper floor.  Our patches of lawn will bloom, including the parts savaged by last fall's epic septic struggle.  Vermont's summer is nothing compared to that of Louisiana, where we lived and worked for a while, and where the children grew up.  But each year habituates us to winter, making summer seem a little more intense each year.

Gwynneth mocks my inability to withstand heat.  As she should.


Reed Hedges said...

How about Imbolc (Feb 2 and Beltane (May 1 for holidays?

I actually first heard about these Pagan holidays because Eliot Coleman mentions them in "The Winter Harvest Handbook" as marking important agricultural dates which he uses to manage his greenhouses for winter, spring and fall growing.

There are similar holidays the rest of the year round (literally) at and between the equinoxes. (Dividing the year in quarters and eighths)

Ceredwyn said...

Yes, I'm a Pagan.

Interestingly these only work well at this latitude (near 45 degrees). When we lived in Louisiana I was completely thrown by the fact that they really, really don't work there.

Feb 2nd is near the start of Sugaring Season and Mayday is really the start of the growing season here.

Check out my other blog if you're interested

Bryan Alexander said...

Good thoughts, Reed.
But I was thinking of a later time than Beltane/MayDay. Halfway between 1 May and the summer solstice.

As my wife says, it's due to our weird climate. We've had snow around MayDay before.