I woke to a light dusting of snow this morning, delicately covering the muck and grit and frozen mud-puddles that make my usually straightforward trek to and from the bus stop an extreme adventure. The snow was just enough to render the icy patches even more treacherous than usual by virtue of being invisible. It was not enough to render the filthy sand-encrusted snowbanks any more lovely.
Yesterday was the vernal equinox. Where I live, however, it’s hard to get excited about that date as the start of spring. Here we are secretly just celebrating the fact that we are getting closer to the end of March. I am convinced that T.S. Eliot wrote “April is the cruelest month” only because he never spent March in Manitoba.
The return journey at the end of the day is treacherous in different ways. By then it has warmed up just enough to turn the ice into murky pools, many of which are too large to be legitimately called puddles but not quite large enough to warrant naming as major bodies of water. As the snow subsides, revealing the roadside litter of car parts leftover from incautious winter drivers, the pavement deteriorates into a minefield of axle-busting potholes and the occasional newsworthy sinkhole.
As you might have guessed, I am not a fan of March. I will take a nice definitive snow storm over this waffle-weather any day. (I should acknowledge that in late March that snow storm is still a very real possibility!) March in my home town is a meteorological guessing game. March does bad things to good shoes and makes getting dressed to leave the house a sort of game show in which you are guaranteed never to choose the right door– or in this case, the right coat.
It doesn’t help that where I work March is also year-end, with all the stress and silliness that always seems to entail. Even when I worked elsewhere, March was always a particularly wearying month. Either I unconsciously gravitate to career options with major March issues, or March itself is the issue.
For me, personally, I know that a big part of my problem with March is that its peculiar weather patterns and filthy sidewalks still evoke somatic memories of the March my father passed away. It has been nearly three decades, but grief etches itself into muscle memory and neural pathways in ways that continue to awe me. Conveniently, March is also when the Canadian Cancer Society holds it’s annual daffodil fundraiser.
In March in Manitoba, you take your spring where you can get it, even if the best you can muster fits in a coffee mug on the corner of your desk.