Ah, spring. We’ve anticipated its arrival since December 22, when the days began to grow longer by the tiniest of increments. About now, sunset is inching toward 6:00 p.m. CST and on March 11, when we “spring ahead” an hour, the sun will slip below the horizon at nearly 7:00 p.m. On March 20, the season officially begins. “Giddy” is perhaps the best word to describe how those first whiffs of spring make us feel.

Science confirms that, although oxymoronic, “spring fever” is a physiological phenomenon of well-being. Information from the German Society of Endocrinology asserts that when more light hits the eye, the pineal gland tells the brain to stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin. Simultaneously, levels of the hormone that stimulates good mood, serotonin, rise. Light also affects our body’s inner clock, according to therapists at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, causing us to sleep less, eat less, feel less depressed and more energized.

In downtown Naperville, the dawn of March brings Spring Style Weekend (March 2-4), promising “three full days of fashion, food and fun for ladies of all ages” and, undoubtedly, many displays of lighter colors and fabrics. It’s as if the last vestiges of winter just can’t get off the calendar fast enough!

While March may come “in like a lion,” the latter, “lamblike” portion of the month stands to bring the city’s residents and visitors out in droves. With countless varieties of budding plants, flowers and trees and a new crop of ducklings and goslings bobbing about, the Naperville Riverwalk is a veritable explosion of spring. Naperville’s Prairie Path system will also come alive again with hikers and bikers of all ages, and restaurants will once more open their patios to al fresco winers and diners.

A St. Patrick’s Day Parade and 5K through downtown Naperville March 10 will celebrate the luck of the Irish, and on Easter (April 1 this year), parents and grandparents will watch with joy as their little ones hunt for over 14,000 stuffed eggs in the Jaycees’/Naperville Park District’s annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Perhaps the monarch butterflies are feeling spring fever too, as they begin to make their way north this month, arriving in our parts mid-summer. Monarch Landing’s 900-square-foot garden provides a safe haven for the migrating butterflies and other insects and is bursting with the succulence of over 600 prairie plants, including the milkweed that attracts the fluttering creatures after which Monarch Landing is named.

Long before the monarchs arrive, however, residents of Monarch Landing can stroll or bike out onto 80 acres of stunning natural beauty, most beckoning when spring arrives and outdoor life starts to dot the landscape like an Impressionist painting.

Spring fever is no ailment, that’s for certain. The physical and psychological benefits of spring heal us like no other season, so let’s toss open the windows and breathe it in!