OldArchive / The Way I See It

Get Set for Nature's Spring Extravaganza

March is a month of anticipation. It's not quite spring, but winter is surely waning.

The third month of the year can also be fickle: one day it's balmy and spring-like; the next can bring a howling blizzard. Some of our worst winter storms come during March. Take a look at this week's The Way We Were column on page 10 and you'll see a photo that my dad, Bill Keeler, shot in 1962 that shows Wyalusing's Main Street getting hit hard by a March snowstorm.

But the thing I like best about March is the change that it brings. Take a walk outside in early March and there's little doubt that it's still winter. Pretty much everything is frozen. There is hardly a sound other than an occasional crow or the chirping of a nearby chickadee. Nature is locked in winter's grip. The colors are drab. There are few signs of life and hardly any indication of the miraculous transformation that's headed our way.

But day by day, little by little, spring slowly overtakes winter. In early March, the average high temperature is in the mid 40's; by month's end it will be at least 10 degrees warmer. March is also when we return to Daylight Saving Time and that means that beginning Sunday, March 13, the sun won't set until after 7 p.m. And a week later on March 20, we mark the vernal equinox or official beginning of spring.

Ever notice how people don't seem to know how to dress in March? You'll see people wearing a heavy winter coat and others in a tee shirt and no coat on the same day.

I enjoy the silence of a frigid winter morning. But witnessing how that silence is slowly replaced with spring's cacophony is one of the best parts of living in the northeast.

For me, jogging in early spring is as good as it gets. The first time I hear the cold silence of winter broken by the cheerful sound of a songbird, I feel like I have a front row seat for the best that nature has to offer. Forget the iPod music, Mother Nature's symphony is all the inspiration I need.

Once the advent of spring starts, it seems to pick up momentum day by day. Everything changes. Bugs are buzzing, birds are singing, green spears of life protrude from the ground and the drabness of winter is on the run.

This is a change best witnessed up close. Sure, you can tell that winter is weakening while driving to work on a sunny March morning, but that can't compare with a half hour walk breathing and feeling and smelling what spring has to offer.

So do yourself a huge favor. Get outside and take part firsthand in the departure of winter and the return of spring. Take note of changes you observe: the first robin you hear, spring's first redwing blackbird, the first time you notice a hint of green where everything was previously brown. Or that gentle warm breeze nudging winter out of your life. You begin seeing things you haven't seen in months: earthworms, bumblebees, frogs, woodchucks and dozens of other creatures that are as happy with the return of warm weather as you are.

Things happen fast in March. So fast that we often miss out on the best part. In just weeks we'll be mowing our lawns, weeding our gardens, fixing and painting things and checking off items on a list we've been putting together all winter.

But right now, while winter's hanging tough and spring is just returning, take some time to see Old Man Winter slowly hobble away. It's worth your time. It will reward you in ways you can't imagine. It will make the blahs of winter recede to wherever it is they go.

Embrace spring and it will return the favor. Like it does with the birds and the bees and the bugs and the trees, spring will bring you back to life and make you forget about what a long, cold winter it's been.

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