March

March is here again.  To me it is about the most unusable month of the year.  It for sure is a teaser, like some burlesque dancer in a tacky dance hall.  A little off here, a little off there and then when you think this is it – – – it snows ten inches.

Occasionally the temperature soars and things get slushy and gunky.  Paving our driveway has never been a family priority, so when things start to thaw out, it seems the whole drive begins migrating to our kitchen floor.

Little paw prints on the kitchen counter signal a time for vigilance with the wash cloth before guests arrive for a quick cup of coffee.  With the return of more benign conditions, the nocturnal nature of our cats begins to emerge.  They begin to wander at night, and drop a little of their winter weight.  At least they aren’t hassling us at 5:30 AM, whining about how undernourished they are.

I never worry much about the snow melt off the roof this time of year.  With an older house I’ve usually been up there a month before, lashed to the chimney, manhandling the big snow scoop pushing a two foot accumulation over the side.  A late March storm is of little concern.  It will most likely disappear in a hurry.  What doesn’t go away are the wrecked shingles from breaking up ice dams.  Undoubtedly I’ll have to piece and patch together the places I’ve managed to destroy, “saving” the house from water damage.

Up here we know its March and spring is coming by the resurgence of runners from the college.  Most of them are disgustingly tanned cavorting down the street, freshly returned from pilgrimages to far off lands to the south with exotic names like Cancun, Mazatlan, or Fort Lauderdale.  The really tough natives here don’t leave, but revel in the chance to haul the garbage out with a t-shirt when it’s 30 degrees.

When March gets real serious about its’ teasing ways, more snow melts and the remains of the season begin to emerge.  Miller Lite cans, old Hardee’s hamburger wrappers, and sure enough, land mines from the dog of the lady who lives a block away.

Christmas decorations, (the season dies hard around here), need to be stored.  The thousand and one Christmas lights can finally be pulled from their perches.  Getting out on a steeply pitched roof in front to yank them in mid-February is not my idea of good time. There are better ways to die. It is time, and we don’t want to tempt fate any more by having a late May blizzard.  The final touch is taking the Christmas pictures from distant friends off the refrigerator door.

It is about this time also that we can start to sleep with the window open at night.The nights are cool, but not brutal, and there is a primitive pleasure in burrowing under the quilt when the alarm sounds and awakening slowly to a room full of fresh air.

The Bald Eagles return too, hunting for discarded Perch on the lake.  Their return and the whistle of the Chickadees bring a sense of anticipation about greener days ahead.

The burlesque show of March begins to fade.  Spring comes in earnest, the daffodils rise, and the driveway stays in place.  Moving through March was worth it after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Doug Lewandowski

I have walked a varied path. I was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and Licensed Psychologist. I have a twice monthly column in the Duluth News Tribune and have had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in this year’s Jade Ring contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. I was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. I transplanted to Duluth to be closer to grandchildren.

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