Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Rites and Rituals of Spring

Rituals exist to remind us of our connection to something deeper. Rituals force us to face our past and our future. The Changing of the Closet is such a ritual. Initiated by the vast and glorious stretches of daylight, the appearance of pale pasty flesh and nshod tootsies, the flowering of apple, cherry, and maples, a looming Lilac Sunday, those of you who live in a non-seasonal climate (and "hot" or "hotter" do not count as seasons), do not know The Changing of the Closet.

This is a dusty, tricky, self-esteem challenging rite of spring.

Let me begin with some background: The average New Englander owns Four Basic Coats.

Coat 1
This is the heavy, freeze-your-ass-off, subzero coat. It's a wardrobe VIP, in that it is extremely valuable, makes important appearances during inclement weather, and must be treasured, cossetted, and otherwise taken very good care of.

Coat 2
This is usually PolarTec, or possibly down. It's a combination of high-tech fabrics that allow you to muck about, shovel, play in the snow, and so fort.

Coat 3
Less warm, but highly water resistant, this is your spring/fall coat. The one that you can wear to approximately 35 degrees (but no lower, as this coat is not meant for snow). This is either a zip-out lined trench, or again, may possibly be of PolarTec.

Coat 4
Lightweight, maybe has a hood, and in some parts of the country, this would be called a "jacket". For dry, cool days.

(You can walk into any New England home, open the coat closet or see the coat rack, and wonder, "How many people live here?" and guess "Four or five people live here, based on the number of coats." You are wrong. It's probably just one or two.)

But I digress.

So, back to The Changing of the Closet. In addition to Four Basic Coats the boots, sweaters, pants, etc. that you need for winter, and you can see where I'm going. You need at least two separate wardrobes. You cannot keep all that stuff in one closet. So most of us have some kind of winter/summer storage system.

And that's where the fun begins.

After you change the closet, you rediscover a whole new pile of clothes. It's like shopping without the pain of spending.

But a summer or winter can have an impact.

A body can—and often does—change. Which is why The Changing of the Closet can be self-esteem building or shattering.

What if nothing fits?

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