March is a frustrating month. Even die-hard winter lovers like me are pretty much fed up with cold, cold, cold by the time the Ides of March roll around. This middle of month, enough-already space in our collective psyche is not doing me any good these days. I’ve got a serious case of cabin fever and actually cried out in frustration when the lighter jacket I put on the other day, while the sun was strong and clear, was not nearly heavy enough to keep me from shivering.
Of course Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was warned of the Ides of March for different reasons, the danger we contemporary New Englanders face is the feeling that picnics, baseball games, waterskiing and long dog walks are just so far away.
I drive past the garden centers, wistfully peering at their meager pansy offerings. While they are cheerful plants, pansies do not assuage my intense yearning to dig in the dirt. A good friend, who is truly knowledgeable, has already been out in her garden, pruning, digging and getting a jump on the rest of us. She is a much hardier soul than I. If there is still ice under the mulch, I recoil and go back to wishful thinking as I urge the calendar forward just a bit. I don’t mind the hard work, but I crave warm sunshine on my back and a breeze wafting the scent of newly dug dirt and just-unfolding blossoms as I toil in the garden.
For sure, there are teasing signs of hope. As the morning sun brightens the sky earlier (thanks to daylight savings), I hear birds bravely facing the chill to call spring to life. George, the bald eagle, and his mate Martha have been seen soaring overhead. I hope they have returned to their nest just a football field away from my kitchen window. There have been only a few sightings of my little fox family from last spring. Perhaps they are waiting for warmer weather before they allow the kits out to play and entertain the lucky humans nearby.
I saw a bunch of intrepid high school athletes out on the fields yesterday. The wind was howling, the wind chill was in the teens and there they were, lacrosse sticks and tennis racquets in hand, doing their best to prepare for this week’s team try outs. This behavior is the very definition of hope and youthful resiliency. The parking lot told a different story. Here, wiser and older parents, remained in their cars with the engines running, some holding steaming cups of coffee as they watched the action through the windshield. Somehow the same weather conditions in the fall are seen as bracing and exhilarating. In March, the cold wind and stubborn flurries are simply tedious.
For the past few months, we have been fighting the winter blues by playing with a video game called Wii. This thing is truly interactive and can get the most uncoordinated, grouchy couch potato moving and laughing. We do everything from downhill skiing to hula-hooping to yoga with this thing – all on the television. Tennis and bowling not only work out our muscles but our vocal chords as we talk trash and do our best to rile the opposition. The game absolutely transcends the generations because the adults in our house often kick the teenagers out when we want to play. I know senior centers throughout the state use this game to enhance indoor activities for those otherwise unable to enjoy sports when the weather is cold and icy.
Though I look forward to next week's forecast of a comparatively balmy weather, I was not happy about needing to wear mittens when I took my little dog for his walk this morning. I did see something, however, that warmed my heart and made me laugh. It was a bright green Volkswagen Beetle car, sporting bunny ears on either side of its roof and a fluffy pink nose (with whiskers) on the hood. A spring bunny, if you will, hopping down the road towards spring. Such silliness is a true sign of hope that warmer days are surely on their way.