How about that sun? We had it for a minute, didn’t we? Brilliant sunshine and azure skies, billowy clouds, and blossoming trees danced with one another through a warm, graceful weekend. Remember that? It was about twelve days ago, but I’m not complaining (yes, I am).
April showers bring May flowers, right? But it actually rains more in June than April. It rains more often in April but the heaviest rainfalls tend to be in the wedding month. Thunderstorms are more frequent in spring than any other season, which has something to do with more, and more chaotic, air currents meeting warm moist air. So if it feels like there have been a lot of gray days and frequent intermittent rain, your intuition is verified by the facts.
So we’re a month into Spring ‘23 and our half of the Earth is tilting toward the sun while the southern half of the planet has taken our winter position, thank you very much. The weird thing is, we never felt it. I mean that is a pretty big shift the Earth made and I don’t recall losing balance, wobbling, or feeling like the boat was tipping. The whole planet just leaned over and exposed its backside to the sun.
More noticeable perhaps is that there are a lot more, and stronger, smells. I actually mentioned this in a column last fall about autumn because spring and fall are the smelliest seasons. Fall because of the massive decay taking place and spring because of more moisture in the air and all the brand new shoots and blossoms. Dryness reduces the intensity of smells while moisture in the air enhances them.
There are other things going on behind the scenes and unnoticed amidst this season we’re in. Historically, according to studies kept from the 18th century all the way up to 1940, the peak birth rate in late winter indicates a peak conception rate in late spring. But oddly, since 1940, the studies indicate a change among those of us on the northern half of the planet: peak conception rates in November and December. I’m thinking central heating has promoted that change because sperm concentration has been shown to be highest in the spring (and lowest in the summer). Spring babies are more likely to be born prematurely. There is a drop in robberies after the spring equinox, perhaps due to an extra hour of daylight. Because of photosynthesis — the process of plants converting sunshine, carbon dioxide, and water into food — carbon levels plummet in the spring. Finally, going on within us but without our attention, spring changes our diets, the amount of sunlight and moisture we receive, our level of activity, and even our temperatures. All of those things change our hormone production and therefore, our bodies and minds — if not our spirits also. We may be blossoming inside too.
So if you have lately felt like there are weird things going on to push your mood up and down and all around, you would be right. Spring is a powerful season with its own agenda for us. The Earth is listing on its side and we, like salt in a shaker, have been moved accordingly. Happy spring!
Data from weather instrument company, Acu Rite, and Senior Writer for FactRetriever, Karin Lehnardt.