By Bruce Stambaugh
On my way to dinner with a friend, a simple yet pleasant notice brought a smile to my face. As my car turned the sharp corner, I saw the sign in front of the volunteer fire station. It read, “Baseball sign up Saturday.”
With yet another wintry storm on the way, that was welcome news to me. Just the thought of those youngsters already registering to play baseball got me through the next day’s ugly weather.
That’s what I like about March. It’s both winter’s last gasp and spring’s first breath. That posting was a clarion call for more than little leaguers. It was a sign of hope.
Once we reach March, I feel like a new person. I know winter’s icy grip is behind us, and that spring is peeping.
I’m also old enough to know not to get too giddy too soon. March often offers up some of winter’s heaviest snows. But with the days growing longer, not counting Daylight Savings Time, you know the snow will not last long.
In fact, March often delivers us a four-star package deal on weather. Wait. You had better make that a four seasons package. March is famous for thawing out winter’s clutch, teasing us with summer-like days, then bringing us back to reality with a fall-like cold front. One day we could enjoy a welcomed spring rain, and the next be dodging tornadoes. March can be as fickle as it is friendly.
This year March brings us a Trifecta of joy. St. Patrick’s Day, Palm Sunday and Easter consecutively complete March’s Sundays.
There’s much more, too. Early migratory birds begin to make an appearance. The male Red-wing Blackbirds begin to scout out their territories. American Robins come out of hiding and begin their bob, bob, bobbing along.
The Song Sparrows pick their fence post perches, tilt back their striped heads, and let it rip. American Goldfinches brighten as they begin their lemony spring molt.
If the ground is dry enough, farmers begin their plowing in earnest. Crocuses and daffodils poke their pointy green shoots through the crystalized snow remnants and await the sun’s command to bloom.
We humans follow their lead. We shake off our cabin fever, and find any excuse we can to go outside. If we do have an early warm spell, dedicated gardeners will be sure to be planting their peas.
We check our property for any winter damage. Without complaint we pick up sticks deposited by winter’s frequent, fierce winds. We’re just happy to be breathing in the freshness of life, and exhale without seeing our own breath freeze in midair.
Bicycles, motorcycles and fishing gear are all dusted off, even if they won’t be used right away. Winter’s smudge is washed off the windows on the first reasonably warm day. Of course, the boys of summer spend March warming up for their April to October baseball games.
High school and college men and women create excitement and celebration with their basketball March madness. We dutifully follow along even if we haven’t attended a game all year.
As you might be able to tell, I’m ready for some consistently warmer weather. The fact that we have already opened March’s door confidently tells me that winter is well on the wane.
As if we had any say in the matter, March always has her way with us. I for one am ready to be under her seductive spell, and bid a fond farewell to her bully winter cousins.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2013