Is it Springtime Mania or Is Clock Time a Lie?
PLUS: what it means to "quantify" dopamine, and this week in autistic-coded TV, GREGORY!
There this association between spring and mania. The logic goes that as the clock shifts so that more of the day’s hours see sun, our bodies get disoriented, confused. The sun gets into our cells and shakes them up.
This month I’ve been lying awake, wide-eyed, staring at the ceiling. I’ve been getting up, going to my desk in the dark, and letting my brain work when it wants to. I’ve been wondering aloud if “night gardening” is a thing, and feeling very tempted to do some.
A Psychologist describes the effects of daylight savings time like this:
Initially there's a sense of something being off or out of synch. It's not an illusion. Your sense of time is a bit off.
My sense of clock time, maybe. But my sense of plant time feels spot on. Me and the flowers are cracking open the dirt together. Me and the bees can’t sit still. We’re exhilarated! What’s a bit off is the numbers that count our moments. “Daylight savings time” is not a natural law, it’s a choice — one that most countries in the world do not make.
The Psychologist goes on in another post, describing what he calls hypomania:
Your thoughts are moving faster, you're connected to your creativity and you're experiencing the desire to open up and blossom, just like everything else around you. You breeze through your day with a fair amount of energy and when evening comes along you don't really want to wind down. There is so much more still to do and sleep feels like interference.
One of the shittiest things that happened after a Psychologist told me I was bipolar is that I started to question the validity of my own pleasure. Is this hypomania? I was scared every time I got that satisfying rush of ideas racing through my head, every time I felt really alive.
So much of the treatment was focused on learning to self-manage and self-monitor — and don’t get me wrong, too much energy can be a destructive force, and it is necessary to learn how to find some kind of balance. I am still learning that. But to call the creative energy of spring a disease because it doesn’t follow the steady beat of man’s made-up clock time seems a shame to me.
At first, I thought gardening would be impossibly hard because there was so much clock time involved. The almanac is based on the calendar — you’re supposed to learn every plant’s number of days to maturity, and plan accordingly.
I suck at numbers and planning, so I never really considered growing plants. But it turns out, clock time is just one way to understand it. Gardening on plant time is less about the calendar, and more about noticing.
Every day I go and I look.
The container kale is growing slower than the kale I planted in the ground; must need a little more water from me, because she can’t reach down and get more from the soil. The mountain mint seedlings have stopped growing despite getting enough water and light; must be time to put them in bigger pots. The sad rudbeckia I planted last summer is coming back with vigor; perennials must need time to get comfortable.
The seed packet might quantify a plant’s life in numbered days, but plants grow slow and fast, depending. They take their cues from the earth. Why shouldn’t I?
If you missed it: I posted a discussion thread for all subscribers this week, come on down and comment any thoughts or questions you have!
Extras for paid subscribers today include:
Fact-checking myself about dopamine levels — how are they really quantified? And what does quantify mean??
This week in Autistic-Coded TV: Gregory Eddie (is this a segment now?)
A flower update! I’m a flower farmer!