14, 2000] Windy.
Trite but often true, March blows in, and the wind
says spring. On a recent March weekend, I watched a couple of
robins struggle against the north wind. They looked as if they’d
forgotten how to fly. One finally gave up on going north and
headed to the south instead. The wind tosses trash around, brings
in balmy air and switches back to shivery weather. In case I’d
forgotten, March reminds me that wind chill can be a factor at 30
degrees as well as in the depths of winter.
March is inconsistent, out of sync, out of step with itself. The
earliest flowers contrast with an otherwise brown landscape. A
pink plastic sack shows up in a bush with yellow buds. In a
sampling of warm days this March, I opened windows, did a little
spring cleaning in the car and even used the air conditioning on a
sunny drive home. A few days later, wintry particles mingled with
the morning air, and I turned up the thermostat. One more day, and
I saw a cover of wet snow. By evening it was mostly gone again.
March is like the dance for two left feet. I remember getting the
pages all mixed up, too, when I tried to play the song for a high
school mixed quartet. It might not have been in March exactly, and
no one danced, but it was spring.
The new plant growth is an obvious example of what’s new in
March. In some rural areas, moving to a new home traditionally
happens in March. New clothes may also be on the list as Easter
approaches. When I noticed March 19 is a Sunday this year, I
thought of my confirmation day and the new white dress and shoes I
picked out. The dress was a mail-order choice, and when it finally
came, with all its rows of embroidery, I wore it a new way –
backwards. That fit better with the neckline of our white robes.
My personal list of new experiences in March also includes a
couple of first dates, from a rock concert in Kansas City to a
chicken noodle supper at Topeka. The outings were far apart in
time and distance, and short-lived, like the early flowers.
Similarly, I outgrew the white dress I thought I would treasure
indefinitely. Newness isn’t necessarily made to last, just as
buds give way to sturdier leaves.
Death happens in every month, of course, but I think of it
especially in March. The Ides of March did not bode well for
Julius Caesar. My father died in March. His sisters and brother
died around the same time of year – all four siblings within
five years. My grandmother on the other side of the family died in
March. The weather and the calendar indicate that March is the
death of winter. Good Friday often comes in March, with the
commemoration of the most significant death of all time, a death
that led to life and victory over death.
purple and white. Those are the colors I write on the March
calendar when I see the first flowers. The purple ones match the
liturgical color for Lent (a word related to lengthen, for the
longer days of spring), and the white ones suggest the past snow,
as well as Easter to come. The yellows, though, are the flowers I
notice most, from bright hedges to crocuses and jonquils. When a
friend shared her early March news, she said, "The crocuses I
planted last fall are up and blooming, and I find that so
A poet put it this
March that blusters
and March that blows,
What color under your footsteps glows!