Monday, April 17, 2017

Blacklist the Shovels and Subpoena the Daffodils!

Albeit it a little tardy and none too weary, Spring has ultimately decided to breeze in.  Surely, everyone gave an audible sigh of relief  when the long range forecast promised a full week of days with above zero temperatures, a welcome relief from the barrage of this past winter's twice a week storms. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is finally in sight and, for once, it is not an oncoming train.

Let's start by prying the remote control out of your hand (if you don't do it soon your hand is going to freeze that way), shaking the dust bunnies off your spring jacket and clearing the cobwebs out of your deck shoes.  Next, let's get you to open that front door, take in a deep breath of the clean, crisp spring air and take the first step out of hibernation and back into the world.

Now that we have you upright and the blood is pumping through your body again, we have to find something to keep you occupied so you do not go running back to the sofa and your subscriptions to every reality TV show available.

There are interminable ways to embrace the season of renewal. Here are some options to get you motivated.

Volunteers are welcome in most any organization. Several months have passed since the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season and now most places are running short on donations and of people, their most valuable resource. Take a morning a week to walk dogs at a local shelter, visit a senior and take them outside for some fresh air, collect donations door to door for your favourite charity. There are an abundance of ways to 'pay it forward'.

An excursion into the woods makes for a great way to get back in touch with nature. Your nose will appreciate the crisp, fresh air and a good night's sleep is guaranteed. Strolling through the forest, you are sure to melt into the rejuvenation that surrounds you, alone with just your thoughts and the occasional sparrow, but remember to stick to the trail. You really do not want to spend the night staring down a black bear who thinks you would make a tasty midnight snack.

Local tourist venues begin to open in the late spring. We sometimes forget about the gems that are right in our own backyard. Try being a 'tourist for a day'. Pick up an activities guide usually available from local merchants or locate one on the Internet. An afternoon spent at an indoor water park with the kids or a tour of a historic landmark has the added benefit of likely being in the off season with a bonus for you - cheaper rates. You will also find that many attractions offer discounts and you do not have to be a visitor from out of town to take advantage of them.

Spring is a time for renewal, so why not revitalize yourself with a day at the spa. After a harrowing winter, you deserve some pampering. Bring a friend and double the fun! Be sure to check local advertising and the Internet for coupons that offer savings.

Join a walking club. If you cannot find one in existence, start one yourself. Simply place free ads on regional Internet sites and put up notices on community boards stating where and when to meet. Many malls are open early to accommodate walkers. You can also check with places like the local arenas. Even if the floor is occupied, you may be able to walk behind the bleachers. Walking is considerably more enjoyable when it is shared with others and everyone can go at their own pace. Most people prefer to walk outside whenever possible, however, if you are targeting seniors for your group, they may feel more comfortable walking inside on a flat service with no inclines.

This is an excellent time to invest in a bicycle. Not only is cycling an awesome way to get into exceptional physical shape, there are so many biking trails that you can go off road in many places and partake in some extraordinary scenery. If your budget is an issue, classified ads on the Internet or in the newspaper will often heed results or check with the police who may offer auctions for items recovered but unclaimed, including bicycles. People are always upgrading and wanting to sell bicycles they no longer use. If you have a partner and want to try something original and immensely entertaining, purchase a tandem bike. With two of you sharing the pedalling, the climb up those hills will be a breeze.

Spring is an optimal time for a visit to the zoo. On hot summer days, the resident animals stay inside or lay in the tall grass and under trees to escape the heat. In the spring, the animals are much more apt to be roaming about in the coolness of the air, giving you a much better chance to observe them. This is the time of year when you will really get your money's worth.

Now is the time to engage in outdoor pursuits. Temperatures are agreeable to being outside at any time of the day and, as the days pass, they get longer and the sun gets stronger. Whether you have been engaging in outdoor winter activities or hibernating, take the time to enjoy nature with some outdoor therapy.

Pauline Milner

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