The winter has been long, cold and icy. We've had lots of time to work indoors, to appreciate branches without leaves and see the finer hues of browns against a white snow background. But in March, things begin to change. The daylight get's longer for one thing. By March 20th, the daytime and night time hours will be equal and then daylight will last longer than the night time.
After a warm couple of days some of the snow has receded, exposing tree bases, last year's grasses and some unstoppable lichen. The warmer, wetter air has the dogwoods, willows and birches showing some color in their branches as the sap rises. The sun is finally up at a decent hour and it's still light after work. The warm smell of wood smoke and Maple syrup as you pass by a Sugar Shack at someone's place can catch your attention while driving down a dirt road midday. Folks are trading snowmobiles our for ATVs and the ice is sagging on the rivers and lakes.
Winter isn't over for us by any means, there will be a late March snow snowstorm. There always is. There will be driveways to plow, walks to shovel and winter socks and boots to clumsily take off with cold hands. There will be muddy dirt roads, icy water melting by day and freezing again at night and there's still time to appreciate that perfect snowflake.
But it's also time to plan the garden, start the onions indoors, make lists of flower boxes to build and think about fishing for steelhead in the local rivers. It's time to pull on the waterproof boots and trim back the mulberry trees, wash out birdfeeders and try to figure out how many cubic yards to mulch we'll need. It's getting to be outside time again.