The Joys and Challenges of Spring
It’s officially spring, but not because of the annual vernal equinox, which this year occurred on March 20. No, for me, spring actually arrived 10 days earlier, more specifically at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10th when we transitioned to Daylight Saving Time. I mean seriously, while I’m a big fan of warmer weather, budding flowers and all, how great is to walk outside at 7 p.m. and still have sunlight? It truly brightens my day — and part of the night — both literally and figuratively.
There’s actually a scientific explanation behind the latter. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin, which is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel more calm and focused. My explanation is simpler — when I walk out of the office after work, my day no longer feels over. The extended daylight means I still have several more hours of opportunity and possibility. Granted, more often than not, I’m still likely to go home, eat dinner, and watch TV or do something inside the house until it’s dark. But it still feels good to have outdoor options, especially when you walk out the door after a long day cooped up in an office.
Another thing I love about spring is the subtle but surprisingly quick transformation of the trees from bare branches to full leafy green canopy, seemingly in a matter of days. Sure, spring flowers grab all the attention with their colorful blooms, but I’m a tree guy, and I relish watching the leaves gradually appear almost as much as I enjoy watching them depart in a blaze of color each autumn.
One aspect of the season that I do not look forward to is “spring cleaning.” When our kids were growing up, all we ever seemed to have time for were the basics of getting the house and yard in shape. Meanwhile, over the course of all those years, we were collecting a variety of stuff — lots and lots of stuff. So much stuff that it is now hard to even know where to start the process of sorting through it all. Based on the myriad of ugly self-storage buildings that have sprung up everywhere, it appears we are not alone.
On the positive side, should we choose to take on the home clean-up challenge this year, it’s nice to know how and where to get rid of all that unneeded stuff. For detailed guidance, go to Jay Copp’s article, “Clean this Spring with a Clear Conscience: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink,” here.
And be sure to check out Jay’s other article in this issue, “The Changing Face of the Western Suburbs” here, where he provides a great overview of the challenges and rewards of our area’s increasing ethnic diversity. As a life-long west suburbanite who has been around for each stage of change he describes,
I found the article to be both fascinating and insightful and I think you will, too.
As always, thanks for being a reader, and enjoy the warmer weather — and the wonderful extended daylight!Edit Module