The world is beginning to wake up, at least in this little corner of Maine. The sap is running, and in many other ways, the stirrings of the trees are a great reminder of what our bodies may need during this change of seasons. So I went out and asked the trees for a little Spring-time advice. I had to listen really hard, but this is what they told me:
1) Get your sap moving: If you go out in the yard and stand really still this time of year, you can hear water moving somewhere, even if it's just a trickle off your garage roof. It's a time for movement, in the world and in your body. Your lymphatic system is a delicate network of vessels that allow exchange of nutrients, gases, hormones, and wastes between your tissues and your vascular system. It's also the super-highway for immune cells. Trees rely on the laws of chemistry and physics to get fluid moving through their rigid frames. But as squishy humans, we have to depend more heavily on the pumping action of muscles and unrestricted connective tissue. Similar to trees, we need adequate hydration to allow for this exchange as well. So as we enter into the dawning of longer days, hydrate regularly, and move your body. That doesn't have to look like going to the gym for intense workout. Indeed, movement and exercise are two distinct actions, and what is most important for the body on a consistent basis is movement. So take a daily 15-20 min walk outdoors if you are able, and if not do regular stretches and movement around your home.
2) PSA: We're letting out pollen soon enough. Prepare now: Many come to me in the Spring time, noses running and eyes burning, asking to find some relief for their seasonal allergies. What they don't realize is that preparation for allergy season actually starts during the Winter. So, the trees would like to broadcast a loving PSA: Get started now. Some of my favorite preps are to begin with daily consumption of 2-3 cups nettle tea and higher dose Vitamin C with flavonoids (2-3 grams per day if they aren't contraindicated with anything you already do or are experiencing. Of course, always consult your doctor). Quercetin as a supplement at 1-2 grams/day, like the first two suggestions acts to stabilize mast cells, the cell types responsible for releasing histamine. I also am a fan of drinking a few cups of goldenrod tea daily for similar reasons. Don't worry...goldenrod doesn't kick off allergies unless you're allergic to plants in the daisy family. It's often confused with the histamine-inducing Ragweed.
3) Hang out with your friends: They may stand tall and seemingly singular on the landscape, but trees actually model social activity very well. Not only do they communicate with one another with their complex roots systems, they are intimately reliant on each other for food and resources. They talk to one another via a mycorrhizal (fungal) network, and they can reach across vast acreage to understand the state of their cousins out on the margins. As we begin our stirring from winter hibernation, don't forget to check in and see how your loved ones fared.
4) Honor the sweet stuff: The trees can't wait to meet you outside the sugar house. They love days like Maine Maple Sunday, because syrup production, much like the best parts of a human life, are complex equations of raw material, community, a bit of heat, and a healthy relationship with time. And at the end, if you take delight in the process, the outcomes are that much sweeter.
Enjoy the sweet stuff, friends. More sun is on the way!