Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Long March

March stretches endlessly to the horizon

March is an insult, a slap in the face, a fetid swamp we must wade through to get to April.

Time in March is canine in nature: it has a seven-to-one ratio compared to real time.  By March time, a person could approach adolescence on the first, and end the month watching their grandchildren graduate from college. Any other time of the year the Latin phrase “tempus fugit” (time flees) applies. In March, the phrase “tempus creepit ad infinitum” would be more appropriate. It’s hard to determine exactly why time slows down so much, but it could have something to do with the non-arrival of spring. If the simple criterion of daylight hours is applied, then yes, spring does arrive in March.  However, Alaskans are left out in the cold with a minimum of four to six additional weeks before they can look forward to those traditional spring time things, such as temperatures consistently above freezing and bare ground (let’s not even get started about green grass and blooming flowers). 

The lag time is bad enough, but there are the relatives in the Lower 48 who take great delight in calling to remind us about it.  Were it truly possible to “reach out and touch” someone, I would smack my sister senseless every year around March 21st.

“Hi.  It’s me.  It was such a beautiful day, I thought I’d call and share it with you.  It’s around 70 degrees... bright and sunny... the tulips are up and blooming...”

“Why are you calling me?”

“You need to hear about these things. You are SO GRUMPY during March.  I figure it’s because you’ve forgotten how nice spring is.”

“Kathy, did I ever tell you about the time I overheard Mom and Dad discussing how bitterly disappointed they were that both their children weren’t boys?”

March snow chokes snow blowers

There is a strange physical phenomenon  that affects March snowfalls. March snow will weigh up to five times as much as snow from any other time of the year. (I suspect it has something to do with a shift in the Earth’s gravitational pull, perhaps a result of the change in the axis, making the snow much heavier.)  During March, shoveling snow shifts from an annoying task to a physically demanding, loathsome effort. Snow blowers can’t deal with the denser March snows. They choke and gag on March snow like it was an endless supply of sticky rice.

Even simple pleasures lose their appeal in March.

Birds demand their due in March
 In the fall, we set out bird feeders in strategic locations so we have the pleasure of watching hordes of little feathery visitors throughout the winter.  Through the course of the winter, there are few daylight hours when the birds don’t visit to entertain us. But by March, my attitude toward the birds sours.  Each day they arrive earlier, and stay later.  They become more vocal in March, chirping loudly, demanding their due.  They become persnickety in what they will eat, picking through the offerings, scattering much to the gooey snow under the feeder. I no longer view them as pleasurable visitors, but annoying little freeloaders taking advantage of a generous situation.  I hate them, and hope they nest elsewhere soon.

On top of the birds, there are squirrels.  Chittering endlessly, they raid the bird feeders, raising havoc with the seed supplies.  I might have thought them cute at one time... say perhaps last fall... but realize now that they are nothing more than gluttonous fuzzy-tailed rats. I wish there were hawks and owls in the neighborhood, lots of them.

It’s March. The month I love to hate.

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  1. One March, a certain son asked me, "Has it been six weeks yet?" After a little discussion, I figured out he was talking about 6 weeks from Groundhog day. He was wondering if it was Spring. It was difficult to explain that the Groundhog didn't really work in Alaska!

  2. I feel your pain...well, as much as someone from San Diego can...and I have one word for you, and it's a word I learned in Ohio during the winter...FLORIDA!! (Although we are closer : ))

  3. I'm sorry, but I would still like to trade houses for the winter with someone who gets lots of snow instead in interminable rain.