March came in like a lion this year. The North Country is glazed over with ice and topped off with fine powder snow, and you wouldn't know by looking out the window that as of the first of March we are in meteorological spring.
Daylight-saving time begins this Sunday, March 9. Time will jump from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. There will be no 2 o'clock in the morning. My guess is that most people will be asleep at the hour in question and so will not be confused. If you are out on the town Saturday night, however, you should know that in May 2013, the Essex County Board of Supervisors changed the last-call time for local bars from 4 a.m. to 3 a.m., apparently rejecting an original proposal of 2 a.m. as too extreme. If you are a bartender or a customer, the sudden spring from 1 a.m. to last call at 3 a.m. could be a jolt - very disorienting if you are not prepared.
In early March in the Adirondacks, goshawks begin building nests, barred owls choose tree cavities for nesting, ravens lay eggs and the first great horned owlets hatch. Later this month, we can expect flocks of male red-winged blackbirds to return.
And ah, the New Year's resolutions. We all made them back on New Year's Day, and I know that sincere attempts at follow-through were made. Resolving to improve oneself in the North Country at that time of year, however, is like determining to clear a mountain of snow thrown by the state plows onto the mouth of one's driveway, using only a child's snow shovel. Yes, it can be done, and I know people who have stuck to their resolutions. They are seeing results, and I congratulate them. I consider their perseverance to be heroic.
What did you say? You resolved to lose weight?
Well, I personally think that you always look very nice, but the truth is that for most of us-always excluding those heroic aforementioned few-it simply can't be done. Not in January and February.
Much as I hate to admit it, I went on a diet beginning Jan. 1, and was grievously disappointed. I counted calories religiously all month. I kept up a strict regimen, restricting daily calorie intake while eating lots of vegetables and few carbohydrates. At the end of the month, I weighed myself, only to discover that I had gained half a pound.
After such sacrifice! The heart of winter is the hardest time to diet. More pie! More ice cream. Make it snappy. We need all of that in order to fight the cold and store energy.
In December, everyone wants snow for the holidays, hoping that the drifts and flurries will transform the landscape into a veritable Christmas card. The real, serious snow usually doesn't come until later, though, when many of us are so over wanting anything to do with it. Our biggest snowfalls of the year are probably still ahead in March and April.
In January, temperatures dip down to frigid lows, with biting, below-zero cold intensifying into February. Then we get those intermittent blizzards that would have been deliriously welcomed in December.
Skiers always like snow, though. They never tire of it. THINK SNOW! Their bumper stickers insist. Winter sports enthusiasts have more words than the Inuit have for various types of precip, including slush, sleet, powder, sugar snow, corn snow, mixed bag and white white stuff.
As winter grinds to a gradual close, it's two steps forward, one step back, and sometimes the other way around. Our so-called mud season can seem interminable. Still, as the sunlight intensifies, we feel our energy returning. Where we ebbed, we now flow. Losing weight may be possible now. People buy paint and cleaning supplies and see their curtains clearly for the first time in months. Good merciful heavens, look at that rug! The sunlight filtering through the salt-speckled windows reveals dust, ladybug carcasses and I don't know what-all.
My sister savors this in-between time. For her, it is just like those extra minutes of sleep after hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. (Remember, though: We will be springing forward.) She has a gardening business that taxes her strength to the limit during the growing season and on into the fall, and right now she is probably sipping coffee, piecing a quilt and wishing she could find a way to stave off the trilliums, just a little longer.
Have a good week!