Wednesday, March 10, 2010

march madness

There is something so restorative about this time of year. The first garden growth of the season emerge from the crown of plants and the delicate snowdrops dangling buds on arching stems signal the first signs of spring. It is the time of year to see signs of life start to burst forth in the buds of flowering trees and tiny clusters of leaves that appear on rose bushes that looked winter weary just a short time ago. The resilience of perennials never fails to amaze any gardener at their ability to come back to life, year after year, after a winter slumber.

March is the annual riddle of 'in like a lion and out like a lamb' that moves us forward to longer days of warm sunshine and outdoor activity. The reference of lion and lamb describes the beginning and the end of the month of March and the dance of weather patterns that it offers to tease and madden all of us who are ready to shake off the last signs of the winter season.

This month we got a drastic swing in weather systems in a few week's time. Winter's last wallop of a snowstorm had the neighborhood humming with snow blowers the first blustery week end of the month and the sound of leaf blowers and scraping rakes for spring clean up the next. Within a week we went from drying out our damp gloves, hats and scarves on the radiators to working in the yard without jackets.

It turns out the March weather surprises weren't satisfied with the juxtaposition of two back to back opposing weather scenarios. We are at the midway mark on the calendar and there has been a snowstorm, followed by a fling with spring and then a storm that Dorothy Gale and Toto would have taken pause. Howling winds shook the trees and tossed trash cans around the streets while the sky took on an eerie glow and the relentless rain pounded the streets creating lakes at intersections and swallowing small cars who dared to pass. Sirens wailed as fire engines went from one downed tree to the next blocking off streets with streamers of yellow caution tape. Huge trees that had stood for years in yards and parks were ripped from their bases taking squares of cement up with the roots. In a few hours massive trees were laying across lawns or tangled in power cords that left neighborhoods in darkness.

The strength of winds that rattle your windows with such force reminds you just how powerful nature's forces can be. The day after the sixty mile hour winds blew through the streets were littered with broken limbs of trees and mangled umbrellas turned inside out. A Brooklyn parish lost their pine tree that is decorated each holiday season for Christmas. The tree was planted thirty years ago to protect the church's stained glass windows from the footballs the kids like to toss around on the lawn. Here today, gone tomorrow. No amount of 'reality' tv could put on such a spectacle.

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