Spring Fever, Catch the bug!
Spring – even the word has a feel to it.
What is it about the end of winter that makes such an impact on people? Spring fever can occur in many forms. The season incites visions of green grass and flowers. In Tahoe, spring comes with more subtleties. The longer days and more sunlight affect humans nonetheless.
“I have read that people are happier when they receive light,” says Mike Noble, biology instructor for Lake Tahoe Community College.
According to Noble, one of the reasons for the seasonal change in attitudes is circadian rhythms. These are the internal schedules that humans feel, like hunger and tiredness, that are set by external influences like light and temperature.
He went on to say that we can feel the longer day length and it makes us more spiritually uplifted.
“Circadian rhythms are more classic in insects, because they go through such drastic changes in the course of the year, but humans do feel it,” Noble said.
“I had a friend once that put a squirrel in his freezer, and it went into hibernation,” he said. He adds that humans do not actually go into hibernation physically, but we may experience a lag effect from the winter months.
“Spring fever is fascinating, I believe it is an ancient genetic code for getting us interested in procreating the species,” says J. Lee Johnson, Ph.D. Johnson is a counselor, author, and columnist in Truckee. She says that this genetic code is triggered by more sunlight.
All of this, the springiness, the newness, things being reborn after the cold, dark winter, creates a psychological feeling of “headiness” adds Johnson.
“You start thinking about members of the opposite sex, about generating and creating new projects,” said Johnson. “Daydreaming is part of that creative process.”
For all the daydreaming that may be starting, most of the local schools have not reached epidemic proportions.
“We haven’t seen any changes yet,” says Nancy Liput, attendance assistant for South Tahoe Middle School. “The attendance this week has actually been better than in a while,” she added.
“The atmosphere around the school changes with the weather, we haven’t had any actual instances yet,” says Holly Thornton of George Whittell High School’s attendance office. “We are expecting it,” she adds.
The students at Whittell tell another story. Some measure the season shift with events and sports, others with attention to nature and people. However they see it, they all insist that the change is real.
“Now that the weather is clearing, everyone is getting ready to go,” says Lindsay Stevenson, student body president.
She went on to say that the new semester began at the end of January. Counting down to graduation and being a senior makes spring fever more pronounced.
“Tahoe is so wishy-washy, we might get some more flurries,” says Angie Zajic, also a senior.
“My boyfriend is in a better mood when the sun’s out. He wants to go out more and do stuff,” Zajic said.
“Track is going, so spring is here,” says Nathan Porter, a sophomore.
“(Spring) is getting here, because the grass is poking through the snow,” says Cassie Boudreau, a junior. “I forgot my coat this week, and it didn’t even matter.”
Weather forecasts for the weekend call for warmer temperatures and clear skies.
Technically, spring doesn’t start until the equinox on March 21. At that time, the Earth will encounter 12 hours of night and day at every point on the globe. Then, in the months to follow, the Northern Hemisphere will continue to tilt toward the sun, producing summer. For now, spring fever is slowly starting to spread.
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