It happens every year, of course, although this year it has taken its sweet time getting here. Still, the arrival of that glorious season (and the lovely weather that accompanies it) known as spring never ceases to rekindle feelings of sanguinity for anyone who is old enough to understand the vagaries of life.
This year, with many parts of Sacramento still soaked to the point of super-saturation from the seemingly non-stop rainfall we endured for much of March, the spring that is finally showing its face for real is most welcome indeed.
Each season has its purpose and provides its lessons, to be sure.
Winter, like much of life, is hard. It brings the flu and other maladies that fester and pester our psyches, causing as much psychological disquiet as physical discomfort. The days are cold; the evenings are frigid. One dares not linger far from shelter for long. Less activity seems the wisest course in winter.
Summer is active, providing the opportunity to play, and work, in the fullness of the day. We are at our best in summer, or so we hope. But summer is also real, with stifling heat often forcing us to forego the dreams we had and the plans we made. Summer is the time of our excesses, when our indulgent nature often brings us more pain than pleasure. It is a time of broken promises, when expectancies become disappointments.
Autumn is peaceful, but it is a false peace: the calm before the storm. It is a time for saving up for the cold days ahead, and it is a time for recovering from the excesses of summer. Autumn is the reality of failure and defeat. It pretends to give us a second chance, but it hides its true intent, which is to usher us back to the bitter hostility of winter.
And then there is that most wondrous of seasons, the time of spiritual rebirth and unbridled optimism, of renewed energy and re-found enthusiasm, when dreams are made and hope “springs eternal.”
Spring is all about expectancy, reflecting the idealism of youth. It is a time when everything seems new and often is.
For those species that spend the harshest parts of winter in the almost semi-comatose state of hibernation, the world must seem ripe for rediscovery when the morning frost softens to glistening dew and the slumbers of the recent past give way to a need to forage again for sustenance.
Of course, there are reasons for the sense of rebirth that spring creates. First of all, nature calls attention to it in the re-greening of the land. Blossoms appear, a few at first, tentatively, on barren limbs, soon to be joined by countless others. Buds develop where lifeless stems had been only days before. In short order they will bloom into the most resplendent of floral displays.
It is the warmer weather and the concomitant longer days that waken the flora of the land, of course. So, too, do they waken the spirits of the fauna, most notably the human variety. What is it about spring that rekindles the energy to do so much more? Certainly those longer days and warmer mornings help.
No one, it seems, has energy for much of anything when we must drive to work in near darkness and return in much the same circumstance. Short days suggest early bedtimes, or at least little activity. But longer days, with the sun awakening us from our slumbers and awaiting our return from a day of labor, hint at greater possibilities than a dreary evening watching drearier sit-coms.
And once daylight savings time kicks in (as it now has), with the sun beckoning us to get out, to stay out, to DO something, it is hard to imagine how we let ourselves become so lethargic. And so we look for things to do, or rather, we find things that always needed doing, but somehow had escaped our attention. Spring cleaning is not just a cliché. It is a real phenomenon, brought on by a need, in some a compulsion, to clear out the cobwebs from our lives. Spring does have that effect.
Spring brings baseball, which, in America, is still youth personified. What other sport simply exalts in the turn of the season? Basketball and hockey are really indoor sports, meant to be played when it is too nasty to be outside. Football is a sport for rain and snow and mud and sludge, conditions that match the animalistic ferocity of its participants.
But baseball is as lush as a meadow in full bloom, with long stretches of inactivity for many of its players, the better to appreciate the wonders of the season. Baseball is the sport for those who dream, alternately, of lazy afternoons and magnificent feats of physical prowess.
Poets and others with a creative bent are inclined to discover new themes on life that lead to new artistic endeavors in the spring. Could Shakespeare have written “Romeo and Juliet” at any other time of the year? He may have, but it hardly seems possible.
Love comes more naturally in the spring. Certainly there is a need to couple and procreate that is inherent in all living beings. But the ardor and passion that accompany coupling by our particular species seems most intense in the spring. Romances blossom during these months, and, if they maintain their intensity to a second spring, they not uncommonly consummate in May or June weddings.
In part, I surmise, this happy occurrence is occasioned by the fact that we all feel more attractive at this time of the year. And, feeling so, we are naturally seen in this light by others, who, also feeling just a little more special, become all the more appealing to us. The rest, as they say, just seems to come naturally.
Ah, spring! Welcome back, my friend.