The word "march" brings an image to our minds of soldiers going forward either on a parade ground or in battle. It also reminds some of us of a command from a parent when we dawdled in obeying a direction. The stern, "March!" meant that the time to negotiate had passed and the only option was to do what was requested. In other words, you marched.
How does that fit in with the month that we have entered this week? It certainly is a month of action. Some of the fiercest snowstorms have been experienced in March, usually after we all thought that Spring was actually here.
In recent years March has brought massive ice storms instead of snow. And of course there is always the wind.
"March winds bring April showers" helps us tolerate the high winds during the month, as long as they are straight winds and not twisters. Flying kites becomes a popular pastime for all ages as the wind makes the sport not only a challenge, but also a pleasure. I have never been involved in surfing or sailing, but I know that winds play a big part in those water sports also. So March is great for those who want action, like the name implies.
But I enjoy the quiet moments I can snatch during the month. One of the first joys is the flowering bulbs that pop up unexpectedly. No flower is greeted with more excitement than the first crocus spotted in our yard. Then it is not long until the daffodils are seen and their yellow flowers signal that it is spring for sure.
Another yellow blossom, a favorite of mine, the yellow forsythia bushes that endure year after year, comes forth with abundant bursts of sunlight in each small flower clustered together on every branch of the bush. I love it when the forsythia and red bud bloom at the same time. That doesn't always happen but the mixture of the purple/red redbud and the yellow forsythia really gets us decorated for the season. It is even better in the areas where dogwood also blooms. There are rare years when all three bloom at the same time.
The speed that a seemingly dead bush, or bare spot in the ground can turn into a creation of colorful beauty shows the strength and vitality of the month when all of these wonders appear.
I haven't even mentioned the birds. The thrill of hearing the first turtle dove (or mourning dove), the excitement when our yard becomes filled with robin couples, and the fun of watching the aggressive cardinals fighting their reflections in the windows are other activities of this changeable month.
Yesterday I saw three young squirrels chasing each other up and down our budding maple tree, and our resident Canada geese couple is patrolling our pond to keep any other geese from butting in on the housing possibilities. I can't say that March is my favorite month, but it sure is one that offers hope, excitement, pleasure, cold days, yet warmth from a spring sun all at once.
Many quotations involve March. Shakespeare's Ides of March that Caesar needed to beware of, don't affect us now that the income tax date has been moved to April. "If March comes in like a lamb it will go out like a lion" is repeated, sometimes in reverse order, every March 1 as we look ahead for the season. But the important quotation this year, on March 8, is "Spring forward, Fall back."