Tip-toeing through flu season, all we caught at our house was a mild case of cabin fever, tired of being stuck inside the house with an increasing awareness of each other's flaws. We stared out the windows we wished we'd cleaned better last fall and longed for more green and less snow. I ventured outside one sunny day when the weather finally broke and walked the lake. I felt my temperature rise and my mood change—and not the kind my doctor warned would happen at my age. No, this was a welcome lifting of my spirits, and before you could say “daffodil”, I quickly contracted spring fever!
Peggy Lee, Elvis, Madonna, Beyoncé and many others have sung "you give me FEVER", but I'm not talking about their kind of fever. Spring fever is a frame of mind. I diagnosis it as a condition where the patient is so sick of winter and cold days that the hope of warmer weather and the desire to hold a lamb in your arms is almost unbearable. It causes you to put away your coats way too soon and replace the enormous space in your closet sweaters so rudely occupied with shorts and tank tops. Other symptoms are feelings of extreme appreciation for new buds on branches and tiny flowers that peek up through the dirt as if to check things out. The first colt’s foot begin to paint road sides yellow and spring peepers holler from the icy swamp. The air is full of hope and endless possibilities.
While not necessarily trying to rid the body of spring fever as much as simply just giving in to it, is the practice of eating ramps and onions. It's an Appalachian cleanse. Out with the old doldrums of winter and in with spring! I read once how a generation ago it was popular to eat spring salads made solely of onions (with a vinegar dressing) as an antioxidant. My dad and his family used any greens that were up at the time for their salads. In addition to spring onions, they might add buffalo clover, poke greens, plantain, or dandelion leaves topped with vinegar and bacon grease dressing. That's what I call a well-dressed salad! The more I spoke to people about it, several recalled similar traditions. Maybe you have spring traditions your family practiced? Please share them on Facebook.com/barefootballi.
If you're like me and can't wait to get your hands in the dirt, remember now is a good time to put some onion sets in the ground and order seeds. There is a likely chance my bout with spring fever began when the first seed catalogs hit the mailbox in March. Marketers know their sales will go up with people stuck inside longing to break free. I daydreamed my way through the pages of those plant catalogs, circling my choices and getting to know important growing strategies for them. Some like partial or full shade while some need full sun. We are a lot like plants in that we need the proper Light to grow well. Corinthians 3:7 says, “So neither the one who plants, nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
As girls, we used to sing loudly and not very well a song by LeAnn Rimes called The Rose. "Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow, lies the seed that with the sun's love In the spring, becomes a rose." It offers a glimpse of hope which is the most noticeable side effect of spring fever. Sometimes change is just beneath the surface or around the corner. When there is an area in our life needing change, we can talk to the One who knows we need full Son. My prayer is we are not too "set" in our ways that we miss the chance to grow.
Janet Cowger- Fliegel