They say that charity begins at home. But does that also apply to today’s action? I suspect I could fill a bin bag full of rubbish just from all the stuff that’s accumulated on the floor of my study in the last couple of weeks…
Actually, this time of year (and especially a day like today, which in my neck of the woods at least, has been reasonably sunny) is a great time for spring cleaning and tidying up generally. Sunlight comes through windows and makes you realise (a) how dirty the windows are after a winter’s worth of dust and rain, and (b) how untidy the rest of the house is (if you’re anything like me it is, anyway).
Light shows things up. It reveals mess.
But is also shows up beauty. And this is also an ideal time of year to appreciate the beauty more, too. All our snowdrops are out, and the first couple of daffodils are starting to brave the cold, like miniature sunshines.
When the snow disappears, what’s underneath it is revealed – whether that’s spring flowers, or old lager cans, crisp packets and cigarette butts. And once the sun comes out, more and more people venture out not because they have to get from A to B, but because they want to be outside. And when they do, they see not only the flowers, but the litter, too.
The sunlight and the longer days mean that tidying up our local neighbourhoods is immensely rewarding – the fruits of our labours will be enjoyed by dog walkers, toddlers, postmen, children on the way to school, people waiting at bus stops… all of whom will feel their hearts warmed by the sight of spring flowers without the plastic wrappers and crushed cans next to it.
It’s also true that keeping our environment tidy means that the people around us are more likely to respect it, and to do their part in keeping it tidy, whereas mess tends to perpetuate more mess: when a place is already looking like a tip, there’s little motivation for the next person not to add their rubbish to what’s already there.
On that note, part one of my action today is to clear my study floor, to find homes for the things that I need to keep and to get rid of the things that need to go. Part two will be to do the same to the small patch of our garden that’s right next to the pavement – there are some beer cans there that need to be introduced to a recycling bin!