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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marching Along

Today is the last day of March, unlike most people, I have mixed feelings about that. For some reason I like March. Somewhere within me is a streak of wildness that matches March's weather. We fit. We are a pair.

Although I live in land-locked Kentucky, U.S.A., March carries me to other places. Mornings when weather conditions are just so, when consciousness seeps into my brain as I awaken under my cozy, down duvet in my little bed in our stone cottage hearing that certain sound, the sound of wind, that loud roar, the roaring up high in the tops of the trees, I stay snuggled for awhile and listen. Though I know that roar is high up in the trees, I pretend that I am in a little stone cottage that looks down on the rocks and surf somewhere along the coast of Cornwall. That roar comes to me as I imagine the wintertime wind and surf. I know my ancestors came from all four corners of the British Isles: Wales, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Perhaps that sound unlocks hidden genetic memories in my genes.

I had never noticed how pretty March is until the year I accompanied Husband/Best Friend/Chief Photographer on a business trip abroad. He did almost all the driving, and I had the luxury of looking and looking. We were traveling into or through Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, England, Scotland, and Wales starting the last of February and leaving to fly home on Memorial Day in May, fourteen weeks later. We traveled the tail of winter and spring, spring, spring!

I bought books and pamphlets galore and learned all I could about what I saw including the plants. I learned that the miles and miles and miles of pretty white flowering trees along the fence rows in the distance as we drove through Germany and other countries were Black Thorn; I learned about the plums, the sloe, and sloe gin. I deeply enjoyed their beauty going on and on all day.

I discovered that trees not especially ornamental bloomers such as maples (and others I wondered what they were), such trees in March and/or April, depending on the country and area, sprouted and sported the daintiest, most delicate little things in browns, all shades and tints of browns, puce, rust, reds, yellows. I had never noticed that before, but when I was out and about during that time of year I made the discovery and was totally charmed. I couldn't tell if they were little blooms, juvenile leaves, bracts, or seeds. Every March since then, I have watched for them, and my heart dances when I see all those soft-colored lovelies in the trees.

My paternal grandfather used to say, "If you live through March, you will live another year." Then in March one year, he died. Five years later, in March, my grandmother followed him. When my time comes, I hope I die in March, sail to the tops of the budding trees, and ride the winds to a garden paradise and mansion prepared for me for all eternity.


farmlady said...

This is a lovely tribute to your favorite month of the year.
I love the part about your grandfather.
Now we can settle into April with our memories of March and live another year.

Meadowview Thymes said...

You have a talent with your writing Barbee! This was a beautiful post. I will think of it every March. :)

Barbee' said...

FARMLADY: Hello, again, I am so happy you came back for another visit. And, glad you enjoyed the post, and, yes, April is very much arrived. Lovely day out there today, and inexperienced teen-aged grandson wants to come 'help' in the garden. My challenge is to figure out what he can do.

MEADOWVIEW THYMES: Thank you soooo much!

Balisha said...

Here's to March. I love the wind and dramatic weather changes, and I love your way of writing.

Barbee' said...

Bless your heart, Balisha, thank you! We surely are a lot alike.

Cait O'Connor said...

What a fabulous blog, such beautiful words in praise of a month I also love. I agree with your view that you carry genetic 'memory' in your soul. And thank you for your kind words over at my new abode.

Barbee' said...

CAIT O'CONNOR, thank you so very much. I think your new blog is stunning!

Kerri said...

Hello dear Barbee,
Your beautifully written tribute to March is delightful, and I'm happy to know you've appreciated this past month. The winds here were positively arctic. I can't say I enjoyed them, but if I follow your suit, and imagine the surf pounding on rocks on the seashore (I'll imagine them in Australia) I know I'll be able to appreciate the winds at least a little more :)
We have pouring rain tonight and I do enjoy the sound of it on the tin roof of the porch.
Yesterday we had beautiful sunshine and gardening weather. Lovely little tastes of what's to come!
Happy spring to you :)

Titania said...

Hi Barbie, a wonderful ode to March. The beautiful trees with their buds, waiting to burst, are in the best company. What a clever folklore, because of the freezing conditions more people would die than in summer.In summer was also more food available. So if you survived until March you had the worst behind you. Absolutely true, typically of me to take it apart.

Barbee' said...

Hello KERRI, I know you have much harder winters than we do. And, may the wind sounds transport you to your native warmer climes. I love hearing the rain on tin roofs. We have predictions of snow on the way. Not unusual for April around here. Spring plays peek-a-boo with us in April.

Hello TITANIA, Thank you! Yes, the living was so much easier in the summertime. Also, by March most of the flu season was past. So many thousands in the U.S. died in the flu epidemic when my father was a little boy. He said everyone was down sick and many dying. When he was about 8 he carried medicines to the neighbors for the pharmacist. There was no one else to do it.

Maria Berg said...

I liked the story you wrote I have never thought about March that way.

And I hope it is a long time before you have to got but cross my finger for you that it will bee in March.

Yes I think it is genetic!


Roses and Lilacs said...

You do have a way with words. After reading your tribute to March, I feel a little different about the month. To me March has always been a month of waiting. Waiting for spring.

I'm glad of one thing. Since my family, friends and myself all survived March, we can expect at least one more year;)

Mary Sharpe said...

I found this a very moving post, Barbee.

The sea . . . I would find it hard to live far from the sea. I think I would panic if I found myself land-locked. But, sometimes, when you really do hear it in the night, it can be quite frightening; it is so big and powerful . . . and if it decided to take a trip inland . . .

Near where I live, there is a 'tombola' - a long bank of pebbles running parallel with the land for several miles. (It is called 'Chesil Beach'.) When the sea crashes against it, you hear millions of tons of pebbles being bashed and thrown around in the waves - it's awe-some.

Thank you, Barbee, for becoming a follower of HUGH AND CAMELLIA. Like the others, I think you write beautifully (and even better and better as time goes by) - so if ever you have any helpful criticism to make of mine, I will truly appreciate it.

Mary Sharpe

Barbee' said...

Hello MARIA BERG, thank you for your in-put; I appreciate reading what you think about it.

ROSES AND LILACS, you sound just like the gardener that you are :) Waiting for spring is the norm among us, isn't it. Still there is such a force turning the season, there is definitely much going on out there for those to see who are willing to buck the force and venture forth. And, may your new year be good to you and yours!

MARY SHARPE, I am delighted that you came over to visit! Because so much of my post is from my imagination, it makes me especially appreciate your firsthand comments about the sea. I had never heard of a 'tombola'; no wonder! the land is falling into the sea in places. With all those pebbles churning and grinding with the force of the sea against the land, it is wonder of all that the tombola areas have not ground their way inland much more rapidly than all the others.

I am happy that I have finally found time to visit your HUGH AND CAMELLIA. What a delightful and surprising story! I LOVE it. I have read all the way through from the first to the current... and I don't want it to end!

GardenJoy4Me said...

Barbee .. This post was so touching .. and I understood how you felt : )
We lived in the Netherlands for 4 years and we travelled quite a bit to see what other countries were like .. Spring was a wonderful time there .. we lived in the most southern pocket (Schinveld) bordered on Germany and Belgium .. we could walk to Germany in the back of our village .. it was wonderful : )
Yes !! snuggling under a big duvet listening to the wind howl.. those moments are so fleeting and special. This was a wonderful post to read .. thank you !

Brenda Jean said...

I do like March for the feeling I get that spring IS coming, but here in Michigan it's really still winter until at least April. But still, I can feel the spring coming in March:)

Maria Berg said...

If you have the time and you want to please change the header - now it is spring, if you don not mind if I say so.
Thank you for stoping by my blog,

Sending you a big huge - I really liked taht you have been to Sweden.

Barbee' said...

GARDENJOY4ME: Thank you for telling us about your experience. I can just picture the region in my mind. March is very early spring there, I think. I enjoyed it, and into April in The Netherlands and France. The Netherlands was just one huge garden by the time we got there, and in France the highpoint was a day in Claude Monet's garden.

BRENDA JEAN, that promise of spring... how well I know it.

MARIA BERG, Hi again, sorry the snow scene grew old on you. I was waiting for my place to look more like the spring header that I use. But, I guess it is time to go ahead and change it. We had snow showers again a few days ago. Frost is possible until May 10. When it does frost that late, it treats the tree and shrub blossoms badly, the bulbs handle it quite well, though. What would we do without them!

Yes, my brief visit to Sweden left me with the most positive impression and memories. I wish we could have gone back later in the spring.