By the end of this month, some places will look like this.
I cannot believe we’re already into the third month of 2015. Where did the winter go? It can’t go away too fast for me!
March is a special month. Once it arrives, I start to realize the season of darkness, ice, cold, flu, and high heating bills is finally in its death throes. Sure, March is still cold in most of the non-tropical northern hemisphere. There can still be snowstorms and some of the worst blizzards in history have happened in March. It’s not quite time to put away the winter coats and gloves and take off the snow tires yet.
But in March, the snow that falls tends to melt faster, the days are getting noticeably longer (don’t forget to set your clocks AHEAD next Sunday!), and by mid-month, at least in my part of the country, the weather gets a bit warmer too.
The first thunderstorms of the year arrive, and people living in Tornado Alley must be wary of severe weather again. I happen to love big storms and like to sit outside on my covered porch and watch them roll in.
On some days and nights, you may even be able to keep the heat turned off, which lowers your heating bill.
In many southern and mid-Atlantic states, some trees begin to show a hazy pale greenish tint by the end of the month. Other trees take on a diluted version of the same colors you see on them in the fall, before their chlorophyll kicks in. (Has anyone ever noticed this? I never did until a few years ago). The forsythias and first crocuses and other early-spring flowers begin to bloom. You may see a robin or two in your backyard. Although most trees are still bare, many are sporting fat buds on their branches.
March is the month the intrepid (some might say insane) hikers who decide to take on all 2,168 miles of the Appalachian trail begin their trek in Georgia (and won’t complete their journey until late August or September, when they arrive in Maine just as it starts to turn colder). Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is actually on my Bucket List of things to do before I die. I’m crazy enough to do it if I can ever afford to take off the six months it requires to just drop out of modernity and normal life (which would not be a problem for me at all!)
Very early spring along the Appalachian Trail.
If you live in a rural area you start to notice fields being tilled in preparation for sowing the year’s crops.
Easter stuff is being sold everywhere. Hell, it’s been out there in the stores since February 15th! Garden centers start stocking up again.
By the end of this month, if it gets at all warm, I will probably need to uncover the lawnmower and push that creaky old rusted machine through the grass for the first time this year.
I love this time of year, because of the way it represents the promise of new life and another cycle of nature at its very beginning. The world is like a person stirring in light sleep just before waking up to start a new day.
In just three weeks, it will be officially Spring, even if we still need to keep our coats and sweaters handy for a few more weeks.
I think March is underrated. Everyone gets so excited about the coming of Fall, but as beautiful as that time of year is, I have always found it a bit depressing. Everything is dying and the days are getting colder and shorter. This time of year, while the weather is still not ideal and there’s no big holiday season to look forward to (outside of Easter), the mood of lengthening days and stronger and warmer sunlight nurtures my spirit.
If you love spring, you will love this book I read several years ago called “Chasing Spring: An American Journey through a Changing Season,” which describes a road trip that follows the progress of the season starting in the deep South as early as late February and progressing northward until the middle of June, when spring weather finally arrives in northern Canada.