It turns out that Spring Fever is real.
Centuries ago, it was the name for land scurvy and cured by consuming lemons, limes or oranges, Dr. Greg Swabe wrote for Knox Pediatrics in 2018. The disease “involved fatigue, malaise, easy bruising, bone pain, hemorrhaging of the scalp and gums, and poor wound healing….their vitamin C levels became depleted during the winter months with no available fruits and vegetables for consumption.”
As a Californian, I realize how I take things our short winter and access to fruit for granted. “It’s like you live in another country,” my Minnesotan friend told me after we discussed the 30-degree weather on her side of the world after I showed her photos of my garden.
The modern notion of spring fever involves restlessness, an increase in energy, vitality and even appetite. This is the Spring Fever I recognize. The absolute desire to say, “The school year is over! Bring on vacation!”
Today I paused and watched a hummingbird visit the new pale pink geraniums a friend brought over when we gifted them a leg of lamb for Easter.
This morning while my son plodded through the sixth to last lesson of math for the school year, I filled my bucket with water, stuck my clippers in my holster and headed to the flower garden, ready to harvest to my heart’s content. I planned to cut just enough to arrange six jar bouquets. By the time I finished gathering from my mother’s roses bushes, all counting was off and I harvested to the full, enough for ten bouquets and then some.
We decided to hold a yard sale, quite a last-minute decision, but why not? Air out the garage, pull out pieces that would be very good for others but have ended their season in our care. A spirit of generosity pervades my pricing rather than the urge to make a few extra bucks. “It blessed us,” I think, “let it bless someone else.”
We attended La Boheme this week for a joyful operatic experience, connecting with a community of artists and opera lovers one meets only by getting out and meeting people, becoming a regular. I admit the opera itself is quite tragic but the quality of the production makes it a pleasure to watch. To see grief on stage, so well-acted, stirred my heart. Rodolfo presented that moment of grief. “Live! Live!” he cried out in Italian. My heart moved within me.
Today a familiar car pulled into our driveway. A friend bought her son to music lessons when ordinarily she works in the evenings. We sat in the sun, in a midcentury patio set I recently purchased from Miss Potts Attic, surrounded by roses bushes, drinking sparkling wine and talking about the deep things of life: grief, motherhood, all the painful things and all the consolations.
Spring fever? How can we focus when the flowers the blooming, the breeze is blowing, and bowls of red ripe cherries from the Monroe Family Orchards sit on the counter?
The pleasure of the outdoors calling us outside. This year’s Spring seems longer than last year, which seemed so brief. Is it the time together, the time spent delighting in traditions that are not only mine but yours or ours shared together? Is it the festivals, the farmer’s markets, the sheer joy that people seem to be experiencing outdoors?
Still, I know spring has not come yet for everyone.
For me, these are the moments to look away from the pains that haunt us, the sorrows we carry, to something so full of joy and promise, that it aches to be recognized. March was a difficult month. April was the transition, for me, into this new spring. That joy does not make the other things disappear, but it balances it out. There is a lot of darkness in our world, but now is the time for poppies. Now is the time for Spring.