Luckily, I know to leave notes for myself regarding things of great importance. Yesterday, I realized it was the end of the month already--the end of January and the end of the true winter season. Ancient Celtic pronouncements tell us to have all winter greens removed from the home by Candlemas--which is February 2 (better known to us in America as Groundhog Day)--or else negative spirits will make your life miserable for the remainder of the year. There is an element of logic and practicality to this...which is...everything to its season or time. We brought in evergreens during the darkest time of the year to remind the spirits and ourselves of the light/warmth and to do our parts to insure they eventually return. Well, they have. It is still cold, but we and the plants have noticed the extra light each day and our bodies are undergoing subtle changes to prepare us for more activity. It is time to move ahead and by removing the greenery, we are ritualizing a turning of the seasons.
I had already taken down some garlands, but I have cedar boughs stashed everywhere for the holidays....in every crock and vase, laying on tables and bookshelves, in wreaths hung in windows. As I remove them, I always burn some in my woodstove to freshen the air, but the rest I sort of break apart with my hands and store in bags to make potpourri with or to stuff into animal bedding.
Looking for leftover greens is also a way of going over your home and noticing any cleaning or cobweb clearing that may need to be done, but most importantly, it makes us an active participant in nature and her constant changes.