Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Yes, March makes me mad. April usually does, too. You start hearing how many days it is until spring; before January is over with. I just crunched a few numbers and I have actually lived around 31% of my life where spring actually happens on March 20. That doesn’t happen within 800 miles of here. We can only wish or hope, but neither ever gets us too far.
We tend to get a little excited when we hear the Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers. But, we always know they will get frozen over. Yes, it happens every year there are signs of life for brief periods and then all is white again. Pussy Willow catkins are soft and fuzzy; covered with yellow pollen. Honey bees are busy in the afternoon sun and then the next day all is encrusted in ice. The poor little catkins hang on; damp and droopy. They never look happy again.
Skunk Cabbage is pretty tough and it keeps on trying to show its true colors. Try it does until it succumbs to the freezes. Often it just wilts into the mud and waits. Freeze, thaw, freeze and thaw over and over; it takes a toll on all involved. Spring will come if we can all hold on. The wait is excruciating. When will it stick and stay? Nobody knows.
Sometime during the month we will get that perfect 5 day period. The fishing rods and rototillers will emerge from hibernation. We want to believe that the cold is over. We hurry up and plant some sugar snaps. We hope the cold doesn’t get them before they get a chance to germinate. The cold always wins. Poor little broccoli and cabbage plants sit in a snowy dormancy; waiting on some sunny days. They never come and we plant again or deal with stunted plants that have given up.
We hit the trout streams hoping for some action. The fish are there; seemingly stacked upon each other. Lethargic fish that is. You can stand there for hours bouncing bait off their noses. They will not move. When it is warm enough to fish it is also warm enough for that dreaded snow-melt to be flowing into the stream. Oh well, it was a nice day for a ride into the mountains and you don’t have to worry about cleaning fish when you get home. On the bright side; at least you could afford the gas without feeling guilty about driving so far.
March is about waiting for better things to come. Serviceberries will be the first to bloom and then the cycle will begin. When? That depends; it might be March or it may be April. The only thing we can do is wait and wait we do. One day we will look up a steep hill and see the real spring green as the ramp leaves glow in the sunlight. They will come as they always do. We can only wait.

Sometime soon the woodcocks will be displaying in the evening sky in a clearing near you. The turkeys will gobble and bloodroot will bloom. I love springtime when it finally happens and I know you do too. But, for now all we can do is wait..

This is my March 2016 article for Two-Lane Livin
(c) High Virginia Outdoors Photo (c) High Virginia Images All Rights Reserved

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