Spring Forward


Spring to me has arrived when my small batch of crocus open their faces to welcome the sunshine on the south side of my house. They are my measure that the seasons have not deserted us, even when a few times each spring, their faces will hold a covering of snow. I suppose there is something profound in equating the end of winter with snowy white little faces, but I choose to ignore deep thinking and just enjoy them as I clean spring debris from the flower beds and clean my golf clubs for the new season.
989135 This was taken one spring in the 1990’s.


Author Nan McKenzie
DSCF8096The full moon in March is not quite as spectacular as April’s, but it has its moments. Like when the goofy Canadian geese Vee across it, honking like hounds, saying, “I’m here, where are you?” “I’m here, are you there?” When the wind is whipping horsetail clouds over the face of it, when it’s raining and the full moon light is still bright behind the heavy clouds, when there is one fat planet pretending to be a star, trying to rival the moon for its brightness, hanging over the lunar shoulder.
March in Montana, popularly known as “Suicide Month”, when winter is still beating us up with cold, snow, ice, rain on the ice, flooding in the streets, the basements, garages. Even through closed windows sometimes you can hear crabby people arguing over nothing, or something too important to ignore.

Grass on the lawns is flattened, not even daring to peel their green heads off the ground. I become so starved for a glimpse of color, for flowers that don’t come from the florists, that I stay inside and watch TV, disappearing from the nasty reality of outside.

And yet, there can be a couple days of spectacular sunshine, melted snow races down the streets, a wholeRobins passel of early robins gather in a few big trees, scoping out nest sites, checking to see if that cute female is old enough to mate this year. Ravens coo to their wives, chuckling, flipping high on thermals, in love with life.

Another silly made-up holiday blitz fills the stores, the bars, green everywhere, everyone wanting to claim kinship with the Irish, when one hundred years ago, signs were posted all along the Eastern seaboard to greet the starving folks arriving in steerage from Ireland. “NINA”, the signs said, “No Irish need apply.” My grandmother, Nora Kelleher, was one of those, sent away by her family at sixteen because they couldn’t feed her, arriving in Boston in cold March with twenty-five cents in her shabby pocket. Nora found work in a shirtwaist factory for six bits a week, just enough to keep her alive. How quickly we all forget, how easily things change.

It feels like we are all waiting on tiptoe, wishing winter to be completely gone and for April to bring us fresh breaths, new hope, a clear love. And color, finally.

Noisy Cabin Fever

Cabin fever is the common name for the months of January and February.  For me, I dwell in the quiet months by making them noisy.  When snow covers the sidewalks and the sun is dimmed by overcast, enhance them by scraping a shovel and switching on a light.  A book by Tara French will dispel any gloom by transporting you to the Irish country side to read about the clash of murder and mayhem Celtic style.  Or grab a friend and hit the movie theater for a matinee and a bag of buttered popcorn.  The long afternoon is applauded by an unreal world on the big screen and munching on kernels.  For a writer, midwinter is a time of exuberance, where words flow in the darkness of morning and of evening.  Make noise, clatter about, and sing aloud.  Soon the crocus, daffodils and tulips will bloom again, and then in the heat of the summer, we will sit quietly in the cool shade.  Which sounds better to you?




Have a noisy, joyful winter,

Marie F Martin