Spring, the most inspiring of the seasons

This is the first in a four-part series on the wisdom of the seasons. The others are summer, fall and winter.

(CNN)As the end of the pandemic tunnel gets brighter and brighter, has a season ever better aligned with where most people are in the world right now?

Spring is the season of hope -- that things will get better after they were worse. The river will "flow again after it was frozen," Ernest Hemingway wrote of spring in "A Moveable Feast." Change is a-comin', and everything is going to be better for it.
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant," wrote English poet Anne Bradstreet. "If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
    Spring is arguably the most profound of the seasons in terms of its meaning, promise, inspiration and experiences. It is the season of new starts and ideas bursting from the ground like the return of grass, daffodils and cherry blossoms.
      In her diary, written under an even more extreme and frightening lockdown, Anne Frank advised those who could, to "go outside, to the country, enjoy the sun and all nature has to offer. Go outside and try to recapture the happiness within yourself; think of all the beauty in yourself and in everything around you and be happy."
      Spring signifies coming out of the darkness. We've tipped the balance from longer nights to longer days. We call the first day of spring the vernal equinox, the latter word meaning "equal night." We may be halfway between eggnog and ice cream, but after the equinox, we are living more in the light.
      There's even some science to the joy of spring. Research suggests that for many people, the extended daylight boosts mood, well-being and energy. Dopamine -- a neurotransmitter associated with attention, motivation, pleasure and mood -- seems to increase with more exposure to sunlight.
        It's also the time for spring cleaning and ridding your life of detritus, those things you don't need anymore and maybe some bad spirits. Decluttering has its own mental and metaphoric benefit.

        Happy New Year!

        Forget January resolutions. In some cultures and traditions, the start of spring is the start of the new year. It's a great time to draw a line in the sand and renew those long-term goals you may have already let slip. It's time to declare a fresh start!
        Because spring is as old as the planet, ancient religious traditions have evolved around its meaning. Spring is rebirth after the long death of winter, and traditional cultures didn't take the return of food and better weather for granted. They prayed for it.
        The luck-infused Chinese New Year is celebrated after the second full moon after the winter solstice and ends in a parade of dragons and fireworks that scares away the bad spirits.