Quote of the Day: “It’s spring fever….you don’t know quite what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” –Mark Twain
It seems like everyone I know is lately falling victim to cold, flu and infection of some sort. TB has so far suffered only the mildest of colds this warm winter, but I’ve succumbed to a particularly vicious strain of spring fever.
My Grandmother lived way out in the country in Yazoo County, and she kept a flower garden the size of many surburbanites’ yards in a fenced area next to a pasture. She’s been gone over twenty years now, but one of the images of her that leaps to memory when I think back is of her jungle safari hat and gloves and opening the rickety barbed wire gate that led from her yard to the garden. So far as I know, she never missed a day out there. Three years ago I was walking through what used to be her garden with my Dad and we spotted flowers coming up all around. They were, and are direct descendants of the flowers Grandmother cultivated that managed to survive two decades of life in the wild. Knowing nothing about flowers, I was lucky to have my Dad there and to go along with his suggestion to dig up a sackful. I brought them home and planted them all over my yard along with some irises and day lilies transplanted long ago from her garden to my folks’ house in Pascagoula, and eventually up here to Ridgeland. They are thriving here with little assistance from me and about two weeks ago the bulbs started blooming. Besides what I’ve already said in this paragraph, I can’t really explain it, but they bring me great joy.
They also serve as something of an alarm clock. When those flowers come forth, I come down with the spring fever. As a kid I caught the fever when baseball tryouts were announced, always in February. I think it was the excitement of knowing a time of opportunity and achievement was on the horizon that brought upon the sickness then. I’m far away from the sporting life now, but when I see those flowers each spring I get the urge to do….something. Something grand. Maybe to go somewhere new or to learn a skill I’ve long delayed. Definitely to be outside. Preferably to be away from the routine and the mundane and to spend that time away with friends and a cold beer or twelve and maybe a bubbling pot of crawfish.
I don’t think there is anything particularly unique about my condition. I suppose it has something to do with our DNA that humanity will never develop resistance to this strain of sickness. It probably started back when our ancestors had to survive the long, cold winters with dwindling stores of grain until suddenly one day the wildflowers bloomed and the caves could be left behind and the fields could be tilled and the fish could be caught. I have friends who take to the waters about this time of year, some who want to eat and drink outdoors in spite of their allergies and friends who begin to dig in their surburban soil. My ancestors were apparently ne’er do well’s who just wanted to go on a long trek to finally see what was around that next bend in the river, then to come back to the big shade tree outside the cave and sit around telling about all they saw over a few home brews. Because I’m not sure exactly what it is the fever is making me want to do, but it definitely involves the living and telling of a new story.