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MY CALENDAR COLORING BOOK: MARCH IS SPRING GREEN

March signals the beginning of spring. The snows begin to recede revealing bright green patches of grass and tender shoots of crocus and daffodils pushing through the newly thawed soil. The air is brisk with a hint of warmth from the sun peeking through the clouds.

At last nature begins to waken from her long winter’s nap. Bright yellow forsythia sways in the breeze providing a welcome splash of color against the barren landscape. Mother Nature adorns herself in mostly green and yellow this month which is also the Girl Scout colors reminding people to stock up on their cookies. The birds are busy pairing together and making nests for the new generation which will come soon. Red winged blackbirds, robins, and cardinals are most visible as they dart among the bushes revealing flashes of red. The ducks and geese at the pond are wandering in pairs as they travel about the pond and surrounding bushes looking for the perfect spot to deposit their eggs.

Spring in Columbus can be a wild month with temperatures varying 30 to 40 degrees in a matter of hours; but I will take that any time over gale force winds and three-foot snows. It is always so good to see the ground after being covered with snow for weeks at a time. We have finally crossed that magical line between winter and spring. Here comes the sun!

MY CALENDAR COLORING BOOK: JANUARY BLUES

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I have not kept up with my monthly calendar coloring book series this month because January is such a dull, boring—blue—month.

The skies are a cold gun-metal gray. The snows, which seem to come in a never-ending barrage, soon turn from a virgin, bridal white to a dirty, dingy, ugly gray/black. The soul and mood have become dormant waiting for the renewal of sun’s warmth. The psyche takes on a blue color. Not the brilliant blue of clear skies on a sunny day or the clear blue of the ocean but more of the dull, lifeless blue/gray of a battle weary Confederate soldier’s uniform. The landscape appears flat with the white snow fading into shadows and blending with the dark storm clouds above.

All of nature is asleep buried under a frozen world. The fountains in the pond, which lend an air of excitement when coming through the entrance, have been removed and stored where they will be cleaned and lubricated before spring. With no fountains it seems the life has been sucked out of the neighborhood. Now the entrance is quiet, motionless, deserted. No ducks on the pond, no muskrats swimming about, there is only a wide expanse of frozen water. The streets are plowed of the snow leaving a three to four foot bank of snow bordering the sides; ice, snow and slush remain on the streets making walking difficult.

Shakespeare said, “Now is the winter of our discontent,” which seems to fit my mood perfectly; a mood of being discontent about almost everything current and a yearning for warmer and sunnier days. However, Percy Bysshe Shelley offers us hope in his saying, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” So we wait and wait for the first glimmer of spring.

In my search for quotes about winter the one most fitting is by Robert Byrne when he said, “winter is nature’s way of saying, ‘up yours’”. I can’t seem to improve upon that.

WHAT WERE THEIR MOTHERS THINKING?

The above picture is taken from the Columbus Dispatch multimedia site showing how Columbus citizens coped with the recent snow storm. It is filled with people bundled up, cars and snow plows on the highway, and even a cute squirrel in his cozy tree nest.

Then there is this picture of middle school students being released from school early so they can get home before the big storm hits. Look at the picture closely. If it weren’t for the dusting of snow on the ground one might think it is a fall or spring shot. No one is wearing a heavy coat, boots, hat, or gloves. In fact, one kid is wearing shorts and another is wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt.

I don’t understand the trend of young people wearing light clothing and no coats in winter and Ugg boots and knit stocking caps in summer. This fall I attended my grandson’s football game where the temperature was probably 110 degrees (actual—no exaggeration) in the stadium. In front of us were two middle school girls wearing heavy hoodie sweatshirts and jeans; however, one girl was smart enough to opt for shorts.

Some people have tried to explain to me that young people don’t feel the cold and heat the same way as us old folks. I can assure you I was not one of them. I don’t like to be cold so I bundled up in the winter. We weren’t allowed to wear pants to school therefore I wore hose and knee socks and I still froze. Unfortunately, I did not have a good pair of snow boots until college when I was working. I remember saving to buy a good pair of fur-lined boots, the forerunner of Uggs. 

So why aren’t the kids in this picture dressed for cold weather? Are they products of car pool nation and think they won’t be exposed to the cold any length of time? Are their parents working and don’t see what they are wearing before they go out the door? Or, are they trying to get pneumonia so they will miss days of school?

After pondering this question I think I finally have the answer. The mother to every under dressed kid is the woman I saw in the grocery store on a cold December night wearing flip-flops! (See “Why Do Women Wear What They Wear?”—December)

http://www.dispatch.com/live/foundation/slideshow.jsp?file=/multimedia/daily_slideshows/2011/01/snow/index.html&image=8&adsec=multimedia&tot=10&sid=101