What Is Cause Of Let-down Of Energy In Early Spring?
( Originally Published 1936 )
Civilization has made very little difference in the tides of life. Beneath the thin veneer of our machine civilization, the age-old pendulum swings backward and forward very much as it did when we were semi-animals in the stone age. We sleep when night comes on, we wake when the sun is up, we are hungry and thirsty at regular intervals, our intestines begin to contract gently once every 24 hours to get rid of the body waste, and our respiratory muscles move up and down once every five seconds in order to take in the oxygen that we need at those regular intervals.
There are larger swings, and of none of these are we more aware than the let-down of all our energies in the spring of the year. Why is it? The thing is too old and fundamental to allow of any complete explanation. But we can hazard a few guesses.
The sun wakes us earlier these spring mornings. The night has been a little hotter than we have been used to, and when we wake at the usual time we feel that it is later than it really is, and we spring out of bed and begin to sing the bathroom song a little more vigorously because our conscience hurts.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said that a "person who gets up very early in the morning is conceited all morning and sleepy all afternoon." (He was speaking of the early eclipse of infant prodigies, but it will apply here.)
No wonder, then, these days we begin to feel a little distaste for labor at half past one or two o'clock, and sneak off somewhere where the boss won't see us, close our eyes just for a minute or two to think over the pressing problems of our occupation. We nod off, and when we wake up again the distasteful work is even more pressing than it was.
And then those adrenal glands that have been part of us ever since we were cuttlefish in the Silurian sea. They furnish us with all our energizing material. Their secretion gets very low in the winter, when our ancesters used to hibernate in caves and only stick their noses out every once in a while to see if there was a track of a saber-toothed tiger or a cave bear in the snow.
It takes a few days or weeks to wake those glands up for the summer work. Our forefathers had to get ready to plow, sow seed, get the fishing tackle ready, sharpen up the spear heads, and get ready for a new supply of food and furs. All this is done for us now by our complicated civilization (by technocracy), but it is hard to get over the old habits. It is hard to stir up the adrenalin.
Don't worry about it. It will be going full blast in a few weeks—the spring winds and the spring rains will reawaken the chemicals of life. Before long some feller, if you are a gal, or some gal, if you are a feller, will come past and all the juices will begin to circulate, and you will be just as efficient as you were last June.