The entire elementary school was to participate in a play called, The Season of Happiness. My fourth grade class was assigned the part a “jury” of forest animals who one by one had to stand and vote for a season. I was decked out as a squirrel and had one line. “Spring!” Being shy to the point of selective mutism, I was quite nervous anticipating my big moment. Would I trip on my bushy tail? Would I forget my one syllable line? Well, I guess I nailed it because I remember thinking, Ah, this is my future! I had heard that shy kids come alive when they adopt another identity on stage. My squirrel self would obviously lead to Shakespeare. Or maybe an appearance on one of my favorite TV shows like Get Smart (Agent 99’s young assistant?) or Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingall’s best friend?)
But alas, my one and only line remained just that. The following year my class was the choir and the music teacher took me aside and asked that I mouth the words and refrain from belting out what was apparently not exactly on key. (I never sang aloud again, thanks to Mrs. Thayer.)
But one thing did emerge from my brief but stellar theatric career. Spring still gets my vote for the happiest season! And that’s not just the squirrel in me talking. I love March in Chicago where snow makes valiant attempts to demand shoveling, but then is rained out two slushy days later. I love April when robins debate whether to rehab an old nest or try a new build. And I love May when flowers blast their color combinations and our wintry, nightmare-ish forest preserve is transformed into full green glory.
Spring IS the season of happiness and there is science to back that up.
According to The Massachusetts Daily Collegian: An increase in exposure to sunlight in Spring and Summer is able to produce an increase in feelings of positivity on two counts: our bodies’ natural and chemical reaction to getting more vitamin D and the consequences of getting to spend more time outside. Exposure to sunlight also increases the production of serotonin in the body. Psychology Today calls serotonin “The Confidence Molecule” because higher serotonin levels are associated with increased self-esteem and happiness.
Spring of 2021 brings light that goes beyond the normal burst of serotonin – we are emerging from the tunnel of Covid and catching a glimpse of brighter days – when vaccinated Grandmas can hold their arms wide to receive running hugs from toddlers or finally get to hold their four month old grand baby for the first time.
When we move our clocks forward this Spring of 2021, let’s celebrate that tunnel giving way to light. Let’s raise our glass in remembrance of those who succumbed to the virus, let’s toast the nurses and doctors who held phones to their ears as they lay dying; let’s thank God for the companionship of dogs who never left our side, and let’s hail the robins as they show us what rebirth looks like.
This Spring I may just have to dress up as a squirrel and relive my glory days on the stage!
-Hey Mrs. Thayer, you can’t dismiss me from singing to myself, joining a choir of angels thanking God for reminders of rebirth.
– Not everyone can pull off that bushy tail look. It takes practice. 🙂
Enjoy the ride!
Barclay and Joy