March 5 — Started home from work early with the sun coming in through the rear glass and flooding the space around me. What a good feeling to relax and feel the weather and not have to brace against the cold, the dark, the wind. Kids walked in puddles, watching their feet move in miracles of unending water. The complete acceptance of this new weather, a swelling, a rising pressure in the temples of living things. It was hard to keep a smile back with each discovery of a new sight released from winter’s hold. March 6 — The brook beside the house that couldn’t make a sound all winter is now talking to me from under the willow roots. A collar of white hangs along each bank, and water traces along under those chambers to make a stronger echo. Liquid sounds emerge from choir lofts of ice. But each night the songs are captured, the sounds withheld. Cold and stiffness return.
March 8 —Tonight it’s growing bitter cold again, a reminder that winter is not ready to move away, but sunset was later and sunrise will be earlier. The sun is winning. Tomorrow it will warm easily.
March 10 — Went to bed with mist changing to light rain. Before I slept I saw an unnatural flash. An arc was struck and I heard the muted sound of first thunder shouldering its way through fog. Rain increased and made a melody in the eave spout.
March 12 — Today I opened the doors to other parts of the house and let the heat from the stove into cooler rooms. I can afford to live in the whole house, at least for today. I wanted to open the windows and let all outdoors inside — but not yet. Maybe in a week or so.
March 13 — Planted tomato seeds in peat pots to begin the growing season. Soon they’ll rise and lean toward the window.
March 15 — Today was such that I was never warm. The chill wind cut through my garments as if I were lightly clothed. Even though the temperature was not freezing, I never really warmed. In the evening, by the stove and lamplight, I found the first comfort of the day.
March 20 — Sometime over the past week someone has been stealing the snow. I had not noticed, but it is mostly all gone. How could those enormous piles and drifts, that awful amount, get away so silently? In return we’ve been given mud. It’s very warm out now. For a while it is ideal, but I know that before the day is over the wind will blow. These days, this month, is as changeable as a girl I once knew.
March 25 — Before I slept last night a moth fluttered against my window, trying to gain the light of my lamp — the first insect, this butterfly of Chinese paper alive outside my window. An insect as frail as dust, and I, have survived another winter.
March 28 — I heard the first frogs by the pond this morning. In a while, geese answered and put their reflections on the water. Daffodils are pushing through the sod. Tulips are close behind. March of March.
Roy L. French of Virginia, Ill., is a longtime contributor to Illinois Times.