Scott Anthony : Winter’s End

By Scott Anthony

Maybe...it's the birds in the cedar tree by the driveway. Or perhaps, after sixty plus days of rain, snow and wind, there is this inexplicable sun. Here, following the snows of February and March and on this fourth week of spring, I feel good. It's not like I was sick, but walking out to get the paper this morning, I saw the orangey sunshine back-lighting the trees, the birds in them chirping loudly and with the brisk air in a blued-tinged sky bordered with cruising clouds, I felt younger.

The Vernal Equinox is one of the four great seasonal changes every year and one of two days a year when daytime and nighttime are equal. With the sun hovering directly over the equator the changing weather can uplift the drowsiest of winter moods. Folk tales claim that only on the March 21st and the Spring equinox is it possible to balance an egg on it’s point. This is not true, because with a little patience, you can stand an egg on it’s point on any day of the year. But there is no doubt that these first days of planetary renewal are special.

I pause for a moment and hear a sound. A woodpecker is riveting the gable of my house, until I swat the newspaper against the siding to scare him off, then I turn the corner to see two small sparrow-like birds flitting in the fountain bird bath.

Far too often, during the course of our daily interactions with each other, we only exchange complaints. For those of us who are no longer teenagers, the condition of our bodies sets the stage for this and a 'how are you' is returned with a variety of personal ills. How can this be good? It’s like switching someone’s orange juice for vinegar.

According to a recent psychology study by University of Michigan researcher Matthew Keller, “Being outside in pleasant weather really offers a way to re-set your mindset.” For weather to improve mood, Keller and his associates found that subjects needed to spend at least 30 minutes outside in warm, sunny weather. Resetting your mind is a good idea, given that a winter like the windblown rainfest we have just survived can really take a psychological toll when we have to stay cooped up indoors.

Keller’s study determined that because people in industrialized countries, on average, spend 93 percent of their time indoors, it makes them largely disconnected from the impact of changing weather outside. No surprise here either, given that humans have evolved with seasonal and weather changes from the very beginning. The research team also noted that most people generally feel a little more blue in the winter and better in the spring. The most extreme example of winter blues being Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I always thought that meant, ‘Seattle’s Always Dreary’.

Not on a morning like this, though. Instead of simple Spring fever, maybe it's a trigger that was set in my genes. Victor Hugo wrote, ""Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age." I'll be 58 in May, and I have mornings that I get up while my back or knees would prefer to stay in bed.
But not today.

Walking back into the house with the paper, I hear faint strains of Beethoven mixed with the birdsong. I've left the little radio on in the garage and it's a perfect fit. So if this exceptional, early slice of day is due to a temporary weather phenomenon, that's fine. And if it's a heralding of the next phase of my life, that's fine too. Because I know that like death and taxes change itself is constant, and though I will have those less than stellar days ahead, I will soak up this one, make note of the feelings of rebirth and appreciation for the end of winter and for this fresh new sense of vigor.Winter’s End
Scott Anthony
Maybe...it's the birds in the cedar tree by the driveway. Or perhaps, after sixty plus days of rain, snow and wind, there is this inexplicable sun. Here, following the snows of February and March and on this fourth week of spring, I feel good. It's not like I was sick, but walking out to get the paper this morning, I saw the orangey sunshine back-lighting the trees, the birds in them chirping loudly and with the brisk air in a blued-tinged sky bordered with cruising clouds, I felt younger.

The Vernal Equinox is one of the four great seasonal changes every year and one of two days a year when daytime and nighttime are equal. With the sun hovering directly over the equator the changing weather can uplift the drowsiest of winter moods. Folk tales claim that only on the March 21st and the Spring equinox is it possible to balance an egg on it’s point. This is not true, because with a little patience, you can stand an egg on it’s point on any day of the year. But there is no doubt that these first days of planetary renewal are special.

I pause for a moment and hear a sound. A woodpecker is riveting the gable of my house, until I swat the newspaper against the siding to scare him off, then I turn the corner to see two small sparrow-like birds flitting in the fountain bird bath.

Far too often, during the course of our daily interactions with each other, we only exchange complaints. For those of us who are no longer teenagers, the condition of our bodies sets the stage for this and a 'how are you' is returned with a variety of personal ills. How can this be good? It’s like switching someone’s orange juice for vinegar.

According to a recent psychology study by University of Michigan researcher Matthew Keller, “Being outside in pleasant weather really offers a way to re-set your mindset.” For weather to improve mood, Keller and his associates found that subjects needed to spend at least 30 minutes outside in warm, sunny weather. Resetting your mind is a good idea, given that a winter like the windblown rainfest we have just survived can really take a psychological toll when we have to stay cooped up indoors.

Keller’s study determined that because people in industrialized countries, on average, spend 93 percent of their time indoors, it makes them largely disconnected from the impact of changing weather outside. No surprise here either, given that humans have evolved with seasonal and weather changes from the very beginning. The research team also noted that most people generally feel a little more blue in the winter and better in the spring. The most extreme example of winter blues being Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I always thought that meant, ‘Seattle’s Always Dreary’.

Not on a morning like this, though. Instead of simple Spring fever, maybe it's a trigger that was set in my genes. Victor Hugo wrote, ""Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age." I'll be 58 in May, and I have mornings that I get up while my back or knees would prefer to stay in bed.
But not today.

Walking back into the house with the paper, I hear faint strains of Beethoven mixed with the birdsong. I've left the little radio on in the garage and it's a perfect fit. So if this exceptional, early slice of day is due to a temporary weather phenomenon, that's fine. And if it's a heralding of the next phase of my life, that's fine too. Because I know that like death and taxes change itself is constant, and though I will have those less than stellar days ahead, I will soak up this one, make note of the feelings of rebirth and appreciation for the end of winter and for this fresh new sense of vigor.

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