Saturday, March 03, 2007

Spring Fever

Just about the time that I was starting to get "spring fever," I woke up to snow flurries. Spring and fall are probably my favorite months. I can remember how excited I would get in the spring, when I was a little boy. After the Robins came and the grass had two or three green blades of grass, I would beg my mother to let me put on shorts and go barefooted. Then I would run and jump and fly through the air with the greatest of ease. The grass would tickle the bottoms of my feet and everything smelled so fresh and clean. This was also the time of the year when I would get my hot weather haircut, sometimes called a "Burr."

One springtime Saturday morning, when I was about five, my Dad and I went to the barber shop to get our spring haircuts. I had been watching Daniel Boone on television and I decided that I wanted to get a "mohawk" cut. Our barber argued with me, trying to talk me out of getting such a radical cut, but I insisted that I wanted a mohawk. Finally, he asked my Dad what to do, and he said, "If he wants that kind of haircut, give it to him." I had a super Dad. Our barber thought about it for awhile, and finally he said, "Stormy, I know your mother, and I just don't think I want to give you a mohawk." That was the end of that.

In the springtime the days are getting longer and the sun is getting warmer, and everyone seems to be in a better mood. There's a scientific reason for that. For some people, there is a phenomenon called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or "winter blues." Approximately 500,000 people will experience a mild to moderate depression in the winter. SAD usually begins about mid-Fall and begins to abate in the spring. Symptoms can be fatigue, loss of interest in normal activities, craving foods high in carbohydrates, social withdrawal and weight gain.

It is believed that sunlight affects the amount of Serotonin in our brains, which in turn affects our mood. This neurotransmitter is essential to good mental health, and most medical professionals agree that a low level of Serotonin is usually the cause of common biological depression. The more sunlight a person is exposed to, the less likely he is to develop S.A.D. Office workers and people who live in the extreme northern parts of the world are usually seen to be more affected by this lower exposure to sunlight. They might develop "cabin fever," and in the spring they will feel a boost in mood due to the sun's stimulation of Serotonin production. This is the reason why treatments of sun-like artificial lighting have shown to be significantly effective for relieving Seasonal Affective Disorder.

S.A.D. is an additional element to the kind of depression that I experience throughout the year. I can usually predict that I will have some improvement in mood when the days grow longer, and I'm exposed to more sunlight. Consequently, I nearly always get "spring fever" at this time of year.

We've had fairly warm weather (60s) for the last two weeks, and I now see just a hint of green showing up in the meadows. The bird and animal activity has increased, and the skies have a more dynamic blue quality. Therefore, photo opportunities are on the rise. As I drove around town this morning, I could see the heads of Daffodils peeking up from the ground. Springtime is nearly here. Yah000000000!!!

Our move into town is nearly completed, and while I will be leaving the Golden Finch and butterfly weed territory, I will be nearer to some horse ranches. New subjects for my photography hobby.

May the Lord bless your life, as He has abundantly blessed mine.

["I'm so low I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

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