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Oliver: March madness also sprouts from hopes of spring

Joan Oliver
Joan Oliver

For many of us, March is a mental game – a test of our internal fortitude.

Sure, Wednesday is the second day of spring, but how many of us felt in our heart of hearts that the moment the calendar changed to March it should have been all sunshine and scilla?

Maybe that has something to do with having had to deal with winter for the past three months or so. Even though it wasn’t the worst of winter seasons, it did start out with that early blast of arctic cold in December, causing many spirits to sink. Three (or more) months of this?

By the time Woodstock Willie comes out to see his shadow in February, a lot of us already are gearing up mentally for spring. Six more weeks? No problem, or so we think. This should be a piece of cake.

So when March arrives, it’s please oh please oh please be nice to us, weather. And then reality strikes. There’s a reason the saying goes “In like a lion and out like a lamb.” However, honestly, a lot of times I’m still looking around for the lamb come April.

One year in particular stands out for how March can be the equivalent of a cold slap of reality. It was that one a couple of years back when it seemed to be one blast of polar-vortex chill after another, with a heavy dose of accumulating snow thrown in for good measure.

By March, we all were done, done, done with winter. Some of us practically were begging for mercy and crying uncle.

So what did the weather do? Oh, yeah, another late-season round of below-zero temperatures with even colder wind chills. Nice. I have to say I broke down in tears. I melted down, even if the snow did not.

Thankfully, this year hasn’t been nearly as bad. It’s been almost tolerable, even. Then again, selective amnesia may be at work. It’s just that now we do have snowdrops and tulip leaves. Now we do have days when temperatures creep up into the 50s.

The trick, for me at least, is to remind myself that we’re not really out of the woods until the last frost (which is what? May?). Cold weather, lower temperatures and freezing precipitation of all sorts still are possible. No, make that likely.

And a wind with 50-degree temperatures still isn’t the most pleasant experience for those of us with sensitive sinuses. Just saying.

Still, the light is getting brighter at the end of the tunnel, and not only because we set our clocks ahead by an hour recently. Although, even that seems to have helped fuel the spring fever.

In the meantime, we all can get a few more rounds of wear from our favorite sweaters, wool socks and warmer boots. And the more intrepid among us will pull out the shorts and flip flops (if they ever really put them away).

Spring in all its glory is knocking on the door and chirping outside the window.
Now I just have to not get too disappointed when winter responds with a few more last gasps. I won’t let it step on my hopes for hyacinths.

• Joan Oliver is a former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at

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