Spring has Sprung | #MyFridayStory No. 48

Spring has Sprung | #MyFridayStory No. 48

If you ask a South African when Spring starts, they will give you the meteorological answer – the 1st day of September. The astronomical definition uses the Spring and Autumn equinox (23 September and 20 March respectively), and the Summer and Winter solstice (21 December and 21 June), to determine the start and end dates of the seasons.

The whole country has a mild climate, with sub-tropical regions, arid and semi-arid regions, and the high altitudes of the Highveld plateau. Johannesburg is situated on the Highveld, providing an ideal average temperature all year round. We forget how spoilt we are with our great weather throughout the year. I say spoilt, because we behave like spoilt brats when we sense the slightest hint of a cold snap, in Winter! Many would argue our climate is of the best, year-round, in the world. But, even with such a temperate climate, our Winters can get cold, dropping below zero degrees Celsius at times. And with the falling mercury, so people’s mood seems to follow.

Spring Day last week, the one South Africans regard as gospel, I sensed a distinct change in people’s mood. They were smiling, cheerful, friendly, being generous, and kind, being more ‘human.’ And yet, the day before, the last day of Winter, the 31st of August, folks seemed grumpier, most kept to themselves, the mood was glum, even the tough times felt tougher. The next day, the 1st of September, ushered in something new, something fresh and exciting. The air was full of hope and opportunity.

People’s attitude changed.

It turns out, exposure to our nearest star, the Sun, has a lot to do with how we feel, our moods, and our general wellbeing. Many studies have shown that our brain’s serotonin levels – responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and sexual desire etc. – are lower in Winter than in Summer. In the northern regions of Norway and Sweden, the Sun is missing from the sky during Winter. Adding special lights that replicate the effects of the Sun, improves the general mood and attention of scholars and workers.

The dramatic change in mood and spirit of people around me, is evident for me and most other folks around me. There are smiles and goodwill all round. From driving in the traffic, to walking through shopping malls, people seem nicer. The smell of someone having a braai (BBQ), of Jasmine flowering, and of freshly cut lawn, further clarify, Spring has arrived. I have childhood memories of those smells, all good.

Spring ushers in new hope and new promise. The excitement isn’t only visible in the birds building their nests, but in how folks are busying themselves, being more sociable, being more visible, being more human.

Spring has sprung, and I love it!

I’m for anything that has the power to make a positive change to the psyche of a nation, even if it’s only a nudge in the right direction.

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