The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 7, 2010

Melissa Gronda: Welcome spring with outdoor activities

I think spring has finally sprung! Recently I was out driving with Carolyn McLaren, our executive director, and we began talking about how pretty the flowers were.

I found out the name of my favorite flowers — phlox. They are deep purple on the outside and have a little lighter shade toward the middle. I never knew what they were called until now, so I want to thank Carolyn for enlightening me. She is even going to give me some to put in my flowerbed. There were also daffodils everywhere, and seeing them mixed with the green grass made me realize that winter is finally over.

As we were driving, I began thinking of all the things we can do now that the weather has warmed up.  Since last month I wrote about beating the winter blues, I decided to take the opposite approach this month and talk about getting outside. Although it’s not summer yet and there are some activities we need warmer weather for, there are actually a lot of things we can do now. It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do for you!

The first thing is to actually get out and enjoy it! Take a walk, and enjoy nature. Walk a trail and see the budding trees, the beautiful flowers, breathe in the fresh air, and just let your mind wander. Don’t worry about anything — just enjoy the quiet beauty of the day.

You can get started planting your garden; your flowers beds, and bring out your plants that have been stuck inside all winter! Dig in the dirt and liven up the outside.

Sit on your porch or deck in the evening and enjoy the cool breeze (or major windstorm) whichever the case may be. Talk about the different flowers, and trees, and what your plans are as the temperatures begin to warm up.

Go fly a kite! With the winds blowing this time of year it is the perfect time. Kites are very inexpensive and older people could really enjoy this activity. Once you get it in the air, just hold onto it and watch it go. If they are in a wheelchair or unable to hold onto it, tie it to their finger or wrist or onto a wheel chair or walker.

Get out your birdbath and set up a bird feeder. This is a wonderful time to enjoy the chirping birds, or pick some flowers, and put them in a pretty vase on your kitchen table or coffee table in the living room. Get out the barbecue grill and have a cook out, or go on a picnic and cook out at the park.  Of course there is always the task of spring cleaning!  But once you’ve been outside and opened the windows you’ll feel refreshed and ready to conquer the world!

Whatever you decide to do, get out and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. It will make you feel energetic and alive.