Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 28, 2013

Garret Leiva: Searching for signs of spring

Local columnist

---- — My internal clock is either wound too tight or merely spring loaded.

Every year — shortly after the vernal equinox — I come down with spring fever. After weathering the end-of-winter blahs, it is a sickness I greet with pale open arms.

I think we are all ready to spring forward after our never-ending winter.

Odd as it sounds, I treat my spring fever symptoms with a shot of fogging oil. I’ve already winterized the snow blower. Flurries might fall on Mother’s Day, but my mindset is shorts and lawn mowers.

By now the wool hats and gloves are shoved back into the closet. The surest signs of spring, however, are the perennials popping up in our backyard; not daffodils, but dog logs courtesy of our new mutt, Zulu.

All of the above are in-your-face obscene gestures at Old Man Winter — or merely delusions of springtime grandeur.

Like most people, I’ve suffered bouts of spring fever since childhood.

As a kid, I’d go from mindful to mindless when the outside temperature hit 50 degrees. A few rays of sunshine and my cognitive skills were fried. Unlike wheat flour allergies, I’ve never outgrown the seasonal spring fever.

If your birthday falls in mid-April in northern Michigan, you know firsthand why this month is often called the cruelest.

I still vividly recall riding my new banana-seat bike through icy mud and stale snow. It’s tough to pop wheelies in a snowmobile suit. It’s also hard to peddle wearing Moon Boots.

Slow spring thaws also meant hitting your white baseball into a pile of dirty old snow. Lawn Jarts games played on frozen grass often included a ricochet effect not seen in July.

When spring fever strikes nowadays, my inner child begs me to come out and play. As a dutiful adult, I try to ignore that little voice — or at least keep my fingers on the computer keyboard.

Staying focused in the throes of spring fever is no easy task. Your mind doesn’t wander; it runs willy-nilly or even pell-mell.

I guess that’s what happens after several months of sun deprivation. In my case, it could also be too much Pop Rocks and Vernors as a kid.

Signs of spring are out there. Just look around: Detroit Tigers baseball hopes are up and car windows are coming down.

If you needed further proof, ice cream shop patrons have completed their swallows of Capistrano spring return. Before you know it, we’ll all be grumbling about stifling summer heat and pushy tourists.

For a tightly wound internal clock watcher, real spring can’t come a minute too soon.

Reach Garret Leiva care of the Record-Eagle or via email at