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Spring Cleaning

The icy winds of winter have fled before the sunny spring skies that make N.C. living such a treat, and that can only mean one thing—spring cleaning. For those dorm-dwellers among us, that may just mean dusting off the top of the mini-fridge and emptying out the recycling that’s been there a month too long. Inhabiting a house off-campus means this can expand to scrubbing the front porch, trimming dead branches to make way for new green shoots and giving away a few crates of books that I won’t read before I graduate.

Elsewhere at Duke, though, spring cleaning takes on different forms. Maybe it’s sifting through a closet to find a long-lost pair of shorts, or, in the case of some Duke lemurs, sifting through a box of shredded newspaper to find some hidden raisins and strawberry syrup. For these black-and-white ruffed lemur brothers, the activity served as a stand-in for traditional foraging behavior when they were kept inside on a cool March day. They were lucky though—when they found what they were looking for, they didn’t have to worry about putting everything back in the box.

Alternatively, spring cleaning might mean mopping up after your annual equinox party or just another messy weekend in a dorm, or carting away what’s left behind after mass gatherings like the Duke Annual Fund’s Big Event.

In big ways or small, the time has come to break out of hibernation. The cave that keeps things warm and cozy now feels stuffy and needs to be aired out. Whether it’s the freshness in the air or the cleanliness of new flowers poking out of their buds, the spring offers a moment to think about which things in our lives we want to clean up, and which we think are tidy enough already.


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