“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter…”
— George Harrison, “Here Comes the Sun”
As I write these words, it’s mid-March here in Northeastern Pennsylvania – and while there is still plenty of snow on the ground, we’ve gotten a couple of tantalizing tastes of the warming weather to come.
After the stresses and inconveniences of such a horrendous winter, we need something extra-special to celebrate the coming of spring. So, I’d like to propose a new holiday – designed for areas like mine (and maybe yours) where a long winter can wear on the spirit. It’s called “AIRING-OUT DAY,” and here’s how it works.
“AIRING-OUT DAY” happens on the first day where the temperature is reliably predicted to stay above, say, 65 degrees or so (depending on your local temperament, no pun intended) with sunny skies.
Here’s the catch: the date is locally determined, and it’s spontaneous. It’s declared THAT VERY MORNING by the Mayor, City Council, or other appropriate local officials – kinda like, but kinda the opposite of, a snow day. It’s important that the date not be selected in advance – although it would be perfectly fine to guess when it might happen, and plan accordingly. (Nonprofits could even stage contests for guessing the day correctly!)
It’s a day for everyone to raise the storm windows, throw open their doors, and generally open up their houses to new, fresh, springtime air. The news of the declaration would be spread by word of mouth, and by bands of children (schools, of course, would be closed, for at least part of the day) running along the sidewalks waving colorful ribbons, playing drums and ringing bells, calling out chants like “IT’S SPRING, WITHOUT A DOUBT! IT’S TIME TO AIR IT OUT!” or singing the day’s theme song, George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun.”
Spontaneous parades and celebratory gatherings, like street fairs and block parties, would be encouraged. Neighbors who may not have seen each other since hunkering down the previous fall would visit each other on porches and stoops. Non-essential workers could be given all or part of the day off.
The sudden holiday needn’t pose much economic burden, that’s for sure. Stores could have sudden “Airing-Out Day” sales on things like plants, fans, potpourris, gardening tools, cleaning equipment, and outdoor furniture (though the unnecessary use of cars would be seen as tacky). Restaurants and cafes would set up tables outdoors and do a brisk “al fresco” business.
Walking and biking would be encouraged, and the day would be perfect for calling up friends and saying, “Hey, it’s Airing-Out Day, let’s go for a walk!” Folks in outrageously spring-themed garb could stage a grand promenade down Main Street. Salads would be the preferred celebratory meal (though some will no doubt take the day as a perfect excuse to fire up the grill for the first time).
As dusk approached, music would fill the air as small gatherings and singalongs on porches, and/or community concerts in local parks, wrap up the joyous day. Who knows, burnings of Old Man Winter in effigy might even occur!
If after reading this your mind has started to whir with possibilities and inspirations, don’t waste a moment – get together with some friends, do some brainstorming and organizing, give your local officials a call, and make it happen! Have a Happy Airing Out Day, and a Happy Spring!