Springtime joy

Posted 3/21/23

Spring is the period of time between the vernal equinox, which falls around March 21 each year, and the summer solstice, which takes place every year on June 21. The Earth’s axis starts to tilt …

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Springtime joy


Spring is the period of time between the vernal equinox, which falls around March 21 each year, and the summer solstice, which takes place every year on June 21. The Earth’s axis starts to tilt towards the sun and the days get longer and warmer. 

As the spring season progresses, flowers and plants bloom, animals end their hibernation periods. The bears can be seen wandering around looking for food near our tiny house in New Hampshire. Birds can be seen flying overhead in formation on way back up to New England from the warm south where they spent the winter. Birds can also be heard chirping cheerfully outside the windows, and butterflies can be seen near our bountiful flowers.  I jubilantly view the bright color spurts of the new flowers but am careful not to get close enough to get stung by the many bees that are also flying around them.

Many animals reproduce in the spring, when the temperatures are warmer, and food is plentiful. Adorable baby bunnies and squirrels play in our yard and ducklings paddle alongside their mothers on the pond. They warm my heart just looking at them!

It has been proven scientifically that spring is a joyful time! Research suggests the extended daylight boosts mood, feeling of well-being, and energy level. The level of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with attention, motivation, pleasure and mood, increases with exposure to more sunlight. A study of students at Brigham Young University found that the longer the sun was up during the day, the less mental distress people experienced.

Warmer temperatures mean we can spend more time outdoors without freezing our feet off. Research has found that taking walks in nature slows heart rates. Another study from the University of Michigan linked spending 30 minutes or more outside in warm, sunny spring weather to a better memory. (Keeping that in mind, I will be spending most of my time outdoors this spring.) That same study also found that spending time outside can actually change the way people think, leaving them more open to new information and creative thoughts.

Researchers have discovered a hidden upside to daylight saving time, it reduces crime. When the sun sets later in the evening, the study, published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, found that robbery rates fell 27 percent. That could either be due to the fact that thieves do not want to steal things in broad daylight, or because they have been positively affected by spring and want to lead better lives. 

Trees begin sporting new leaves as early as mid-March. That leaf growth ensures a cool canopy to relax under for picnics at Buttonwoods Park. When trees release water back into the air through evapotranspiration, it can cool down the areas around them by up to 9°F.  Similarly through photosynthesis, trees convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water into food, releasing oxygen in the process. That means that when the greenery starts to grow in the spring, they pull carbon out of the atmosphere, providing an important environmental service. Plants take in roughly 25 percent of the carbon emissions humans produce, which results in a decreased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I cannot help but wonder how much damage builders do when they raze entire acres of trees to make way for building new homes and big box stores.

Weather in the spring makes it easy to let fresh air in.  It is the time of year when I gleefully open the drapes and fling open the windows, allowing the clean smelling breeze to ventilate indoors. Who needs the aroma of a Glade plug-in when the real thing is so much better!

While it is difficult to get enough Vitamin D naturally in the winter, the spring sunlight triggers the body to produce vitamin D, which keeps bones strong, an important advantage for us “older folks” who may have brittle bones.

Many vegetables and fruits are harvested in the spring. It is a great time to get fresh asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, and other fresh produce. A study has shown that eating more fruits and vegetables is not just good for the body, but also improves happiness and life satisfaction.  Bring on those veggies!

Spring ultimately re-awakens me. My spirit comes alive with hope and energy. What a wonderful season it is!


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