Looking forward to outdoors

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 3, 2008

I have not written a column lately because I have had sickness of one kind or another for about four weeks. Some weeks I have not gone out of the house and some only to church. I am beginning to get a little stir crazy.

I was already beginning to feel that way from winter. I like to be out in the sunshine and doing things and going places. Now that I am feeling better I am looking forward to the weather getting warm enough to get outside and plant some flowers. I am looking at garden catalogs and envisioning the color and beauty of spring and summer and wondering if those exotic beauties will grow for me.

During the drought I lost two pine trees and two dogwood trees. Then the hedges around the front of the house started to die and they had to be pulled up.

I have decided instead of more hedges, I am going to put in perennials with lots of color. Now I have all this space to put in new things of my choice, I am getting very excited and of course I am one of those people who love the planning as much as the doing. So it is a double trip of pleasure I am embarking on.

There is something about getting your hands in the soil and putting in plants that makes you feel close to God. It is a renewal of life after winter is past.

The gray skies and cold days give way to bright blue skies and large white fluffy clouds. Flowers begin to pop up and it seems as though life is being renewed. Not only that but the colors after the drab days of winter are a joy to behold.

Your spirit rises and all stress is relieved as you work with the soil and the plants to start that renewal of life. I look forward to walking and seeing those colors in other people’s yard and noticing how they plant in a different way than I do.

I also enjoy road trips where I can stay off the interstates and see other people’s homes and how they landscape and decorate their yards. I love to visit places like the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo and the squares of Savannah or any other place that has been planted by experts.

Gardening has been proven to be therapeutic. Just getting out in the sunlight can actually improve your mood and your health. There’s a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder that affects some people during winter months when there is less sunlight.

Sunlight provides us with a huge dose of vitamin D, and the fresh air that that goes with it is good for your health. Getting outdoors to work with your garden is a great way to relieve your stress while making you healthier and happier.

Do you have a blah mood or not feel so great? Join me outside in the sunshine and fresh air this spring and see what it does for you. You don’t have to put in large gardens or devise intricate patterns. Just something small will do the trick and you will feel wonderful when you see the beauty you have created.

Sylvia Hughes is a retired newspaper editor and a regular contributor to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. She can be reached via email at sylvia.hughes@r-cnews.com.