Coiled

Often by mid-March andromeda has been blooming a while, but not this year

When I was working, early March was the easiest time.  New annual projects were in their most productive and least annoying stages.  Commuting was relatively mindless and hassle free.  There was no envy of passing the day at a beach or park.  And increasing daylight promised that vacation and outdoor fun, not to mention late spring holidays, were just over the horizon.

Now, brilliant sunshine deceives.  I spring  out the door into what I think will be a glorious experience, and am hit in the face and bones with biting raw chill.  I frantically seek signs of emergence of life, and find them (if at all) creeping much too slowly for my taste.  Where are the daffodils?  Where the pussy willows?  Alas, only in the supermarkets, flown in from foreign lands.

My environment remains coiled.  The force of spring runs in maple sap, bulbs are gathering strength, migratory birds are already on the way north.  Mating antics break out in wildlife everywhere.  Careful examination reveals that indeed tree buds are beginning to swell and color, briars and roses are unwrapping leaves.  But all resembles sprinters prepared for the starting gun, coiled for action, motionless at the moment.

A few clusters of rose leaves brighten my increasingly desperate examinations.

March is, after all, part of winter.  Ski resorts do landmark business.  People flee to relax on warm beaches in the south of Florida or always-warm Caribbean.  Snowblowers, shovels, and salt must be kept at the ready.  Evening soup is preferred to salad.

But as equinox approaches, we remember similar daylight back in September, when all was still warm, trees green, and the outdoors lingering in hospitality.  The cruel differences are not quite apparent as I gaze out the window.  

Fortunately, we humans are also aware of time and cycles.  I know, intellectually at least, that September is a crueler harbinger of a long dark cold time to come.  March is the beginning of new bursting joyful life.  Both take a little while to get fully underway.

Bulbs shoving up in earnest, now leaves must be cleared and fertilizer applied on the thawing flower beds.

Like those in ancient tribes, I find it elegantly easy to anthropomorphize nature.  Spring is posed, ready to move, just awaiting the perfect moment.  Animals and plants are moving into position in the coming extravaganza.  The wind is cruel, the storms capricious, mother nature fickle.  Each cold snap or snowfall seems a personal affront, each day over fifty degrees a reward.

Science is a fine thing, civilization wonderful, but we remain deliciously tied to our prehistoric instincts.  In some ways they are more captivating and real than all our logical constructions.  March can be crueler than April, and is easily visualized as being so on purpose.  That gives us perspective, and for all we know is true reality.

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