Marching into a new year

March was the first month I ever saw, although I had no idea what I was looking at.

Of course it’s a month of transitions — that’s why they put the first day of spring there — but for we who were born in March, the sense of new beginnings is doubled.

It’s a schizophrenic month. “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Here in these parts the lion came a little early, as we got a five-day streak of heavy snow and high winds that was, frankly, not much fun. The first day of the new month arrives as the calm after the storm.

It’s time for the slow crawl out of winter into spring. The crawl can take until May around here — the advice to gardeners is to hold off your planting until Memorial Day. I remember a delightful March with highs in the 60s and 70s that conned me into planting radishes on April 15. The frost on May 3 or 4 took care of those puppies.

We usually have a horrendous snowstorm around mid-March that drops 10 inches of wet snow on us — in 2018 it was 30 inches and mid-April — but then it starts melting almost immediately. I’m hoping this last blast was that storm, a bit early.

Even if it’s not, the air is filled with promises of re-emerging life. The sun has been a more frequent sight, little by little every day. On March 20 the hours of daylight will equal the hours of night, and from that day until September, there’ll be more light than dark in the world. Dawn is not as desolate and silent as it was a month or two ago, as the songbirds have started up their music again. And the weather app promises high temperatures above freezing more frequently than not, for the foreseeable future.

When winter strikes in January or February, we turn up our collars and curse the darkness. When winter strikes in March, we smile at the snow and say, “You’re not long for this world anyway, nyah nyah nyah.”

Daffodils will be warily poking their shoots out of the ground by the end of the month, and we’ll soon be checking the dog paws for mud to clean off before they come back into the house. Red has been browsing the seed catalogs and sharing ideas with Wife of Son of Red about their vegetable garden. March 1 brings an air of anticipation that isn’t there on February 1. 

In many ways this is the “real” new year, the time when nature sheds its blanket and starts to wake again. So, happy new year, and may this March and beyond bring you blessings and love.

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