Here we are, already near the end of March. The first day of spring has arrived, and you can feel it in the air, hear it in the birdsong. But what exactly is March, anyway? It’s not quite winter. It’s not quite spring. The birds and the budding plants and the occasional warm sun say, “Spring is here,” but then the wind gusts say “no, it’s still winter.”
I think that, for this reason, March is the hardest of the transition months. Of all the transition periods between seasons, winter to spring always feels the longest and most difficult, for me at least. I normally love the transition between the other seasons, when you feel that shift in the air; but by the end of March, I’m yearning for warm, sunny days and spring blooms to arrive quickly.
This March in particular has been strange. It’s really just been a continuation of winter, with more cold days and, ironically, the most snow we had all winter. It’s like the seasons have shifted (which is possible, due to climate change), and our normal February weather has moved into March. Despite the cold, I made sure to get outside as often as I could. And I saw some true magic in nature this month, highlighting March’s duality and revealing that there is something special about this slow transition.
On the one real snowy day we had this month, I traveled to a nearby park to take it all in. As I got out of the car, a certain section of the woods called to me. Something about the way the snow was on the trees, the way they shined bright white amongst the brown and gray. As snow fell gently, I walked into the trees, following the path. I felt it wanted me to travel this way. I could feel the magic, fluttering down from the sky and all around me in white, fluffy flakes. It felt like walking through fairy dust.
Eventually I came across a bend in the river. Here, the woods told me, as the path beyond did not seem as enticing. I stood in this spot, at the edge of the water, for a while, feeling the snow fall on my face, and the wind whipping around, sometimes violently. Only the sound of running water and the gusts of wind graced my ears. This is what the forest wanted me to see. I felt such strong, powerful, intense energy circling around from all directions.
A few days later, I went to the same park on a very warm, sunny day, walking the same trail, and was met with signs of spring. The forest was filled with spring peepers and other frogs, their lovely chorus echoing all around, singing the song of spring’s arrival. I’ve never heard so many in one spot before. While listening to the frogs, a huge barred owl jumped up from the ground into a tree close by. I had never been so close to a wild owl before, and his calm presence was awe-inspiring. But of course, once again, I hadn’t brought my Nikon!! But I got some good video anyway.
Spring is slowly arriving at the cottage, as well. Skunk cabbage flowers are popping up everywhere, and you can smell them in the air. The geese are migrating again, and I’m hearing more birdsong on the trails everyday. I saw two foxes, one prancing through the brush while I was on the trail, his bushy tail the only sign that he was there, hiding from me. I’ve heard their mating scream at night. A juvenile bald eagle has flown by, carrying a fish in its talons. A patch of nettles that I hadn’t been aware of before is sprouting. Trout is jumping in the river, and muskrats are building their nests.
At dusk, you can hear the spring peepers. Around this time two years ago, when we first had access to the river and woods after my dad blazed the trail, I found my way to a marshy section of the woods and listened to the frogs. It was raining, and I could see the wood frogs hopping through the pools, and the peepers were as loud as ever. While I’ve heard frogs my whole life, this was the first time I found where in the woods they lived. I watched them for over an hour. Now when I hear the peepers, I always think back to that day.
On the last day of winter, my boyfriend and I went on a woodcock walk. Woodcocks, also known as timberdoodles, are a unique bird with a long, narrow beak, similar to a sandpiper. They mate this time of year, and their mating ritual is a sight to behold. The males make nasal “peent” calls and then perform a dance in flight, where their wings make twittering sounds as they fly. While on this guided hike at dusk, we witnessed a few woodcocks, loads of spring peepers, a heron, a barred owl, and the noisiest red-winged blackbirds and starlings. Fittingly, it was the coldest day of the past few weeks, but that didn’t stop all the liveliness around us. And as soon as spring arrived the next day, the weather began warming up, as if on cue.
Nature is waking up all around us, and though it’s a slow transition, it is happening, and can be observed if we take time to sit, watch, and listen.
I’m reminded of a quote I heard recently, in a Seasonal Herbcraft course I enrolled in through Rowan and Sage: “The idea of there being four seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter, is not a universal concept. It’s really dependent on where we are, our culture, the environmental factors we experience, etc.” I realize now, at least where I live, that these transitional months can count as their own seasons, too, just as important as the others. March is a season of slow change, a time to dream about the upcoming future while also appreciating where we’re at in the present moment.
So as I wait, now patiently, for spring to fully bloom, nature is reminding me that it can’t be rushed. The flowers and the leaves and the birds will all arrive when they’re supposed to, right on time. I’m learning to enjoy and appreciate the transition. Though it may be hard to wait through sometimes, there’s beauty in the waiting, and the small things, like buds on the trees and peeping birds, make it all worth it.
I hope you’re finding beauty and magic in this transition season, and in any transitions you may be going through in your life. Here are some of the foods and activities that I’ve been navigating this month with. If you have any March stories, recipes, or resources you’d like to share, leave a comment below!
This article beautifully captures the magic and wonder of the transition between winter and spring. It’s a reminder to appreciate the slow changes happening in nature and in our lives.
Easy Landscape Gardening
Thank you for your comment! Yes, exactly, we can learn so much about how to approach our own lives by observing nature.
I loved reading your blog post about the transition between winter and spring. Your observations of nature and the subtle changes that occur during this time are truly beautiful. It’s interesting to think about how these transitional months could be considered their own seasons, too. What inspired you to write about this topic, and how do you think we can fully appreciate and embrace this slow transition?
Thank you for your kind comment! I was inspired to write about this while thinking of how, every year, I feel like March drags on and I wish warm, spring weather would arrive quickly. But then I took some walks outside and realized that there are small signs of change, like the skunk cabbage flowers or the birds returning, that deserve their moment of recognition before all the plants fully burst and spring fully takes over. I also compared this to my own life, of how during periods of changing life chapters I wish for the outcome to arrive, while I should take a moment to appreciate the process. Personal growth doesn’t happen overnight, and we should be proud of the small steps we take during the in-between phases of life. March is similar to our lives in that way.
I think we can fully appreciate and embrace this transition through being patient and remaining present. Noticing the little things that bring us joy in the moment, like the birds chirping or our morning cups of coffee. In transitional periods of life, noticing the small things and looking back to see how far we’ve come, how much we’ve already accomplished, can help us see how much progress we’ve already made towards something, even if the final goal hasn’t been reached yet. Just like spring will arrive soon, we’ll soon arrive at our own personal destinations, in due time.
Wonderfully descriptive with some luscious photos… The other day I had my own encounter with some local wildlife as a red tailed hawk flew across the road in front of my car I was hoping dearly he would not hit my windshield. He was weighed down by a little rodent he had just caught and was trying to gain altitude. If we pay attention nature is always waking us up…
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Wow, an amazing sight!! It’s so exciting when we encounter nature this way!
Sara I cannot believe you have a copy of taproot! I’ve been trying to track down a copy of that magazine Barnes & Noble doesn’t carry it anymore in fact she said they stopped publication the helpful lady at the register… I will tell you this time of year was the countdown to the end of school. It’s such a pleasure not to be in the building all day and be able to be out and enjoy the sunshine and the spring unfolding. wonderful you’re taking the time to look and post.
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They’re definitely still in publication, I subscribed and received last month’s copy! You can buy them on their website, it’s such a fun magazine!
OK I’ll look for it on the website thanks! See you Sunday 1130.
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Sara Catherine – Working my way through your words and clicking through these beautiful images makes for a glorious visit on a somber gray day. Your detailed view and thoughtful prose are a joy to get lost in. I’ve always looked at seasonal transitions as a new beginning, and yes, I agree they have been shifting climatologically here in the Northeast. Regardless, they offer the promise of a new start and you have captured that wonderfully with your thoughtful vision.
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Thank you so much Linda, your lovely comment made my day! I’m so glad you enjoyed my post and prose. 😊 Spring is especially a new beginning, with the world waking up from winter slumber, and the transition is such a joy to behold.
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