March — Be prepared for any type of weather

ESCANABA – As subtle as a tiny puddle on the side of the road –

As gentle as the wisps of brown fur peeking out of the hare’s white coat –

As musical as gold finches and chick-a-dees as they chirp to the extra minutes of daylight waning with the setting sun –

March can be a delicate month. It’s not all orange, crimson and gold like October. And it’s definitely not a green growing jungle like July.

March is more like an old fashioned black and white photograph. It artfully etches time like a sepia tone picture of the humble beginnings of spring.

“In like a lamb and out like a lion,” the old saying goes describing March’s two personalities. Here at home in Upper Michigan we really get to see the two sides of March.

Timid like tiny drops of water dripping from an icicle, the month of March takes its sweet time transforming late winter into early springtime.

Even though in northern Michigan, March is more of a winter month (as compared to some places south of here where trees are in bloom) there are hints of spring.

You might have to look closely (or like me, put your bifocals on) to notice some of the changes outdoors. If you hike through the woods you may see the little black specs on the snow that look like pepper. They are alive from the ground below. They’re called snow fleas or springtails. When they dot the crusty snow, winter is on its way out.

Wet and muddy paw prints of skunks, raccoons and bears crisscross in the forest. Our feathered friends start to take on their brighter plumage of summer.

In the country the March hares are mating and the owls are nesting. In town, potholes are growing and snow banks are shrinking.

Cold nights and warm days make the sap rise in the maple trees. Cold night and warm days also makes for some sticky snow. While maple trees are being tapped, strange creatures spring up overnight in the woodlands.

March hares six feet tall and snow-hounds five feet long frolic in the forest. Snowmen and snow women show up wearing St. Patrick’s Day hats and shamrocks.

These things describe the “lamb” gentle, fun like side of March. The “lion” side doesn’t show up too often, but when it does, look out!!

Grandpa Wils always told me that some of the nastiest blizzards can pounce down in March. One day you can be flying a kite in the field and the next day, the wind can be so strong and filled with snow that you cannot see across the field.

The March sunshine can begin to melt the ice. Ice shoves strong and wild can crop up along lakes and rivers.

Be prepared for anything, take notes on the changes and get outside. From white to grey to black and brown, March has some old fashioned, earthy charm to offer.

Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.