SPRING is about to spring. We’re on the cusp of that season when, as British middle distance runner Doug Larson said, you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
Spring is an “experience in immortality’’, according to Henry David Thoreau. Writer Rainer Maria Rilke said spring is when “the Earth is like a child that knows poems.’’
It’s the time for champagne, another spring invention. Around 1700, a French monk, n accidentally failed to complete fermentation before bottling the wine. When spring arrived the contents of the sealed bottles began to heat and produce carbon dioxide that was trapped in the bottle.
When the monk noticed that some of the wine bottles in the cellar were exploding, he decided to sample one.
The surprised monk then yelled to his collegues, “Come quickly! I’m drinking stars’’.
No wonder comic Robin Williams describes spring as nature’s way of saying “lets party’’.
But it’s not like that for everyone. It’s a time when there’s a spike in the number of heart attacks, suicides and depression hospitalisations.
Many people expect the winter blues to lift the moment there’s a hint of spring in the air. And when we don’t immediately feel better there is a sense of anticlimax, and sometimes a spiral downwards.
Some research says it’s the optimists who are technically insane. They think they have control over life. Only the really depressed see life as it really is. They know they have no control.
The people of Denmark consistently score highest in terms of self satisfaction. Some sociologists say that’s because the Danes are perennial pessimists, always reporting low expectations for the year to come.
They then find themselves pleasantly surprised when things turn out better than expected.
The pessimists among us say that there is no salvation. They say that the best we can do is to survive in a world that is steadily going to hell, with or without a handbasket.
Blind optimism is not much better. There’s a huge mass of suffering in the world and you cant just ignore that.
But were pretty much what we expect to be. The pessimist is not so much a realist as one who cannot see a good thing when it comes along because he has lost the ability to recognise it.