Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with throwing open the cabinet of curiosities and wondrous things I call my brain and leading you on a tour of what actually resides in there – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
V is for…
vernalagnia: a romantic mood brought on by Spring.
Spring has well and truly arrived where I live. Over the weekend the first of the trees in my neighborhood began popping with buds and first leaves – in that luscious, luminous, only-seen-in-Spring gorgeous green. My eyes see that and my heart swoons. Simple as that.
“Spring and all its flowers
now joyously break their vow of silence.
It is time for celebration, not for lying low:
You too – weed out those roots of sadness from your heart.”
It’s time to welcome my annual bout with Spring fever.
Spring fever is any of a number of mood, physical, or behavioral changes, which may be experienced coinciding with the arrival of spring, On the one hand, the term may refer to an increase in energy, vitality, and sexual appetite. as well as a feeling of restlessness. On the other hand, the term may sometimes be used to describe an opposite effect of springtime lethargy or depression.
It’s believed there’s a biological component to this phenomenon. According to Scientific American: “It is well documented that animals and humans track seasons by measuring the length of days through an internal biological clock… (which) sits in mammals’ hypothalamus. It monitors light through a pathway to the retina and conveys information about day length to the pineal gland. This pea-size gland, tucked at the base of the cerebrum, controls the secretion of melatonin, dubbed the sleep hormone because it is only released in the dark or in dim light. The duration of melatonin release changes with nocturnal length, which is longest during winter…(And) Studies show that sexual behavior in mammals follows a seasonal pattern, one that promotes survival.”
This may well explain what poets and others have long known, as Tennyson said “In spring, a young man’s fancy likely turns to thoughts of love.”
Given that today’s word, vernalagnia, is particularly defined as dealing with romantic moods, you might guess I’m going to talk about love. If you know anything at all about me, you know I’m on a not-very-secret mission to spread love widely and encourage others to do so as well. I’m powered by heart energy. And that’s how I believe we should meet each other and the world.
“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”
Mary Oliver said “My work is loving the world.”
I daresay that’s my work as well, and I imagine it might be said for all of us.
Thinking about love as a spiritual principle is different than how we often think about it in a more mundane way. What we often define as love can more likely be called conditional love – sentimental or emotional attachment to a person or thing. And while we say I love you unconditionally, there often really are conditions – I’ll continue to love you if you don’t change, or I don’t change, or if you bend yourself more into this shape I would prefer, or a myriad of other permutations that are really conditions.
In the more spiritual sense of the word I believe Love surpasses our ability to understand it. That it is the force from which all springs forth and what we are ever trying to allow our human selves to align more perfectly with.
There is a French proverb that says “To be loved is the best way to be useful.”
While I’m not sure everyone would take the interpretation of that proverb in this direction, I personally think it’s a wonderful invitation to deep dance. I don’t believe it asks us to be anything less than who we are. Rather it is asking us to be exactly who we are and shine that brightly. To be anything less is not to be authentic. But holding our wholeness, our authenticity, our true soul selfness is exactly what we’re all called to do. And when we can do that, even if only briefly before we slip into something less, that is a true gift we give not only to ourselves but each other. Just showing up as true soul selves is as useful as it gets.
I quite like this vintage needleworked piece I’ve got hanging on one of my walls: “There is only one joy – to love and be loved.”
What if today we let ourselves give and receive love in every moment? How magical might that be?
I think poet Ted Hughes had it right when he said: “The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.”
So there you have it – a meandering ramble on various aspects of love all brought on by my immersion in vernalagnia. What about you? Does Spring fever grab you and shake you until your heart’s afire? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
Vernalagnia. Another new-to-me word. I find spring to be one of the busiest times of year and as such I must be lighting a fire within me, right? As for spring being a romantic time of year… I dunno. Maybe for some people, but I’m sneezing too much to feel amorous.
I’m sorry to hear those pesky allergies are strong holding you Ally. Hope most of your busyness is out of the allergens way.
Spring does grab me and shake me, as far as the wonders of the new growth and flowers in the garden. As for romance? I would love to find it. It’s not something that comes to a lot of widows in their 60s though.
I like to think Spring is filled with boundless happy surprises – who knows what will turn up. 🙂
A lovely ode to Spring – the vernal season. I love all seasons really I suppose, but my blood does quicken when the greening and budding happens. Right now we’re in Autumn and what you say about increased melatonin from the pineal via the hypothalamus because of shorter nights works for me – I sleep better and longer!
Thanks Deborah, lovely quotes – and here’s to agape love – loving everything – 🙂
The melatonin research is interesting. There’s so much we still don’t know about the brain though and chemical imbalances.
And yes, here’s to agape Susan – always, always, always.
Love the Rumi quote. I’ve never noticed anything different about spring, but I attribute all my issues with the seasons to the fact that I live in a place where we (I) really can’t tell the change.
I really do love living in a place where the seasons are distinctly and noticeably differentiated. But I participated in a year-long project once where members across the world observed changes in their environment over the seasons, and it was fascinating to see with observation how much people could discern. And how each one of us became more attuned to the seasonal cues of our own location, and how they varied so widely. It was great fun and wildly educational.
I use the word “love” freely, which I thought was a negative at one point. Now I’ve come to realize that appreciation, caring, respect, admiration, warmth, and interest are all forms of love. In that way I can find love in my heart for just about everyone!
What a lovely 🙂 perspective Margaret!
Oh yeah, I love spring! =)
I’ll have to mull that French proverb a bit. It’s interesting.
Black and White: V is for Vegetable Lamb
Exactly Anne – that proverb is definitely worth pondering!
Another lovely word – Vernalagnia.
I have noticed that season affects me, I am sure it affects all of us. Whenever it is spring – my mood is happy by itself! I just feel like singing and dancing. Even monsoon is one season I wait for – I love dancing in the rain and I literally do 😊
I like the quote – in your vintage needlework piece! It is very beautiful – have you made it?
Enjoyed reading your post.
Oh the idea of you dancing in the rain simply delights me Kislaya. It’s something we should all do.
A friend created the needlework piece for me – it’s a real treasure to me.
Rebirth, green, fresh, joy!
Indeed. So much to celebrate and appreciate.
My work is to cherish whatever passes my way. A year-round fever with a spike in spring 🙂
Unfortunately, a minuscule but very noisy group of people believe otherwise and spread hate.
Beautiful work indeed!