By: Rich Liotta
It is at this time of year that a strange phenomenon occurs with many people I know here in the Adirondacks. One day in early spring awareness changes and everything feels different. This can be a disconcerting moment of confusion right before the transition to feeling more alive, more inspired, more optimistic, more driven, and oh yes-more positive! The confusion includes disorientation as one looks back at the winter wondering where you have been and how you got here. Indeed it is looking back and wondering just who that was during the cold, dark, snowy season who didn’t feel like doing anything, gained weight, felt depressed, worried pointlessly and just struggled through the days.
I’ve heard comments like this, ‘Who was I so wrapped in gloom, moving in slow motion, and grumpily responding to everything in my life? I am not that person now, what happened?’ It was a bout of bear confusion syndrome I suspect. While this not a bona fide clinical condition, I have observed the symptoms frequently in April at more northern latitudes.
Confusion? Yes, but of the most positive sort. The kind of confusion that comes right before the emerging clarity and resolution we have when we leave a rough period behind. The confusion preceding the expectation that better days are coming. Also, upon further reflection, perhaps the confusion that occurs in that moment when we realize how the cycles of nature can still effect us, no matter how evolved we (humans) feel we have become. Or perhaps that conclusion is an insight that occurs when the confusion subsides.
It makes me wonder if some of us have an inner bear that hibernates during the winter months. No we don’t crawl into a cave and sleep, at least not literally. But it is like some part of many of us does hibernate. Then we have to get reacquainted with ourselves when we wake up. I wonder if a real bear has that problem. Probably not. To the bear it is just an abnormally long nap from which he awakens to get on with his day.
Bear confusion syndrome is a wholly human experience. Fortunately the confusion passes quickly and the potentials that are in front of us feel possible again. Sometimes the confusion comes and goes for awhile before it fully resolves. Particularly on those spring days when it snows again, before winter finally calls it a season.
Is it the longer days and more daylight that end the trance? Is it being warm again? Is it seeing green and color again? Is it hearing the birds singing again? Is it that going anywhere is now much easier? I don’t know for sure; but I’ve heard it said many times, “I know its spring, I feel good, and I don’t really care why!”