March opens a season of wind and change

03/03/2013 12:06 AM

03/02/2013 5:58 PM

March honors the Roman God of War. It marks the turning point in the sun’s battle to overwhelm the cold and dark of winter as it drives off a defeated February.

But March, like January, has two faces. It is the lion and the lamb. It is the warrior and an impatient lass who will not wait. Impulsive and headstrong with wind-reddened cheeks and a tangle of windblown hair, she welcomes the days when the first of the martin scouts appear, songbirds return and the sweet voice of spring fills the air.

During this transforming month, folks in the heartlands are shoveling snow or battling floods while the sap rising in New England’s awakening maples is being gathered. It requires about 40 gallons of sap to be boiled down to produce a gallon of pure maple syrup for smothering hotcakes and waffles.

Seemingly on cue, dandelions pop, brightening the ditches and spreading little suns along back fences. The herring swim up the coastal creeks to spawn, and azaleas don their flowery gowns of spring.

These are the last days of waiting and the first of arriving, days full of cool, rainy hours spent pursuing adventures in the gardening catalogs and repairing garden tools. As the warming sun clears the melting snow and ice, it leaves muddy footprints on spring’s doormat.

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