There are millions of Canadians presently experiencing spring fever – mood, physical or behavioural changes. They may not use those words; they may not even know how to describe it. But they speak of being more energetic and hopeful. There is an extra jolt of energy in our movement.
There may be an increase in energy, vitality, and sexual appetite, as well as a feeling of restlessness, associated with the end of winter. It’s spring and this is spring fever!
A lift in mood with the arrival of spring, and longer periods of daylight, is often particularly strong in those suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), who experience lows or depression during the winter months. It’s the arrival of spring, at least according to the calendar. I find that the older I get, the more I long for the end of winter – the darkness, the short days, the grey skies.
Mark Twain once spoke of spring fever. “It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
All things being equal, winter in my part of the country hasn’t been horrendous. It may be too soon to utter those words. Spring doesn’t feel obliged to stick to a schedule. But it’s been gentler than many previous years. Spring is a time of growth, renewal, of new life being born – plant, animal and metaphoric. No place of darkness can hold back spring.
The term is also used more generally as a metaphor for the start of better times. Think of examples such as the Prague Spring in 1968 or the Arab Spring that began in 2010. Most of us engage in some version of spring-cleaning.
Spring coincides with the Easter season. Both the liturgical season and the season of the earth are filled with hope. With the end of winter, we can leave behind our winter hibernation and wake up to new sights and smells. We know that the seed in the ground is starting to come alive. That seed of hope inside us is coming alive as well.
What do we hope for this spring? It could be the hope of those pale legs getting a healthy-looking colour. Or, maybe it’s the hope of shedding that extra weight added in the winter. Spring is the season of plans and projects. It’s God’s way of reminding us of what can be done with what looked so bleak and barren in winter. We can finally move beyond daydreams to action.
Farmers certainly have plenty of hopes and plans. Gardeners can’t wait to play in the soil, having a chance to finally develop that new project they daydreamed about on a snowy day in January. Others of us might plan to adopt new habits, turning over a new leaf in our life.
Those who found themselves housebound through the winter ice and snow have a sense of release, as if being let out of a prison. Those who missed baseball are ecstatic as they welcome back “the boys of summer.” The comedian Robin Williams says, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’”
It’s time to put down the video games and turn off the television and head outside for a party – sit on a park bench, swing a bat, toss a football, start a new flower bed, go for a leisurely walk, or hike through a forest to watch and listen for the emergent life. Shakespeare helps us with spring. He says in one of the sonnets: “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” Let’s head out and enjoy that spirit. Let’s be young, at least in spirit.