Dreaming of spring while dealing with reality

Bluebird on ice by Bruce Stambaugh

An Eastern Bluebird perched on an ice encrusted maple limb.

By Bruce Stambaugh

As I write this, I’m looking out the ice-splattered window watching it snow an inch an hour. The trees are once again encrusted with a layer

Icy window by Bruce Stambaugh

A northwest wind plastered ice against the window panes before the heavy snow began.

of crystal clear, weighty ice. The poor boughs of the evergreens are again bowed to the ground.

The rest of the landscape is covered with inches of yet more snow. Fierce, brisk northwest winds stymied the snowplow operators and sent them back to the garage in disgust and for safety’s sake.

I am always glad when the calendar flips to March. To me, March is a Jekyll and Hyde month, the last of winter, and the first of spring.

In truth, March in northeast Ohio is the month with the potential for all four seasons. It doesn’t always work out that way of course.

When the calendar reads March, I know winter’s icy grip is loosening, if only by time. If we are patient, though, spring will eventually win out.

Tired of winter and ready for spring, I opened my digital photo files and reviewed recent March memories. The visual variety brought a smile to my face even as noisy gusts whipped the snow outside harder still.

Horses play in the snow by Bruce Stambaugh

Horses played in the snow.

The first pictures showed exactly what the day at hand already had. Snow blanketed the landscape, but the sky was clear. The next few days revealed similar scenes. The snow remained, but so did the sunny skies. Horses romped in the snow and the days ended with picturesque sunsets.

By the middle of the month the deep snow cover gradually melted down, and green, grassy patches peeked through. People went jacketless and our first crocus bloomed on St. Patrick’s Day. The lovely lavender petals contrasted nicely with the spiky green leaves and the rich, brown ground of the flowerbed.

Honey bee by Bruce Stambaugh

A honey bee enjoyed the crocus.

The next day, I photographed a honeybee gorging pollen. This scene really instilled hope.

There were more flashy sunsets and a picture of a thin crescent moon that looked just like a smiley face grinning at us in the early evening sky. We had one like that last month, too, but it was too cold to enjoy from the out of doors.

A couple of days later the frogs from my little garden pond emerged to bask in the warmth of the bright sunshine. And more flowers bloomed equally vibrant.

Just when you begin to fall in love with March, she can deliver some nasty punches. Tornado season begins in earnest and in the past we have had some powerful thunderstorms in March. They often are followed by cold and snow. A friend used to say that it always snowed during regional basketball tournament time.

Sure enough, five days after the frogs contentedly sunned themselves, our first daffodils showed their pretty yellow faces. The next day they drooped sadly, covered in heavy wet snow.

Drooping daffodils by Bruce Stambaugh

Daffodils drooped by the heavy snow.

If there is an upside to such an early spring snow, it’s in the comfort that it won’t last long. As proof, my Amish neighbor was plowing his long field one row at a time at month’s end.

Song Sparrow by Bruce Stambaugh

A Song Sparrow sang from a secluded perch.

A sudden windy gust awakened me from my vernal dreaming. It was then that I noticed a familiar but long absent resonance. In the middle of this latest blizzard, a Song Sparrow sang as if the daffodils and crocuses already were blooming.

That subtle sound of music renewed fervent hope that winter and spring would soon change places.

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Filed under birding, column, photography

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