Spring Forward!

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!

Today’s Takeaways

-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

Apricity-it’s a real thing! Who knew?

I read an article last week on the change in lighting at this time of the year, more daylight hours, sunset coming just that much later, Spring is finally in the air!

The word “Apricity” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means ‘the warmth of the sun in winter.” The word appears to have entered the English language in 1623 when a man named Henry Cockeram coined it and added it to his dictionary. Who knows? This could be a question on Jeopardy, should you be a contestant at some time in your life

It got me to thinking how important weather is to me, light, sun, the warmth of the sun. It is definitely something that I inherited from my mother before me, who would raise the shades in my room every morning to let the sunshine in, sometimes waking me up when I wasn’t ready to emerge from my very comfortable childhood bed! My mother gave me a weather report every morning, whether I asked for one or not. Weather clearly was important to her too. Perhaps, I should have been a meteorologist and given Ginger Zee some competition or Al Roker. A career for another lifetime!

The change in air, lighting, amount of sunshine, even when it’s still cold outside, gives one hope. The long winter of the Northeast and for my dear friend Barclay, the Midwest, is nearing its end. It’s been a cold one and a very snowy one-think of our readers in Texas where they were pummeled with snowy conditions that they just aren’t used to or equipped to handle. Power grids being effected, car pile ups, lack of warmth and basics for everyday living.

We are close to Spring on the calendar with the equinox March 20th and daylight savings time March 14th. Spring forward. That is indeed what we should strive to do, especially this year. Coming out of our long hibernation, we ponder what life will be like in the next few months. Many of us have lived cautious existences, being afraid to be too close to anyone for fear of spreading a virus that is lurking out there waiting to get us. Now, many of us in the appropriate age groups are getting double vaccinated and, perhaps, we can breathe a little easier, get a little closer, prudently, of course.

Studies have shown the effects of weather for years with cities like Seattle, Portland, London, New Orleans, etc being difficult places to live for lack of sunshine for long periods or heavy rainfalls during the winter months. SAD is a real thing. Seasonal Affective Disorder. When my daughter moved to London for graduate school, I was so concerned about her moods and personality being effected, that I bought her a sun lamp to help her get through the dreary winter months. It does help! Not a magic bullet , but helpful for sure and cheaper than a trip to the Caribbean, which we can’t do yet anyway!

Adding to my ponderings during this 2nd week in March, get out there and experience apricity! It’s there for the taking and it feels delicious. A lot better than frostbite!

Today’s Takeaway…

I just learned a cool new word that you can use for another week or so. Maybe, it will help you in Scrabble or impress your friends and family!

Go outside and look for crocus. They are peeking out from under the soil now waiting to welcome the Spring equinox and the time change.

Weather really does matter! Be happy when the sun is shining.

As always, enjoy the ride

x0x Barclay & Joy