Classic March weather has settled across the American Heartland this week. Chilly, humid air, gray, breezy skies and intermittent rain, sometimes mixed with sleet or snow, envelop the landscape. We humans, native to the tropics, retreat to our dry, heated homes while nature conducts her slow transition from winter to spring.
In the countryside, livestock plod through soggy fields, hawks patiently cling to damp, barren limbs, crows and starlings swarm across dreary farmlands and pickups leave muddy tracks on the graveled roadways; even our beloved bluebirds, perched on icy powerlines, reflect drab silhouettes in the filtered sunlight.
Yet, the fields and lawns are slowly greening, migrant waterfowl grace the ponds and lakes, the first dandelions glow along roadside sloughs and robins pick their way across the thawing soil. Hyacinths, daffodils and early tulips brighten our flowerbeds and a purple haze of henbit will soon spread across the floodplains. The dingy, wet, raw days of March are setting the stage for the glory of April and May, when a tide of fragrance and color will sweep across the Midwest. We may not enjoy nature's preparations but the feast of spring will reward our patience.