March madness

This tough winter just doesn’t seem to want to leave. Yesterday the trees and early flowers were coated in ice, and today a cold rain dampens the earth and my spirits in equal measure.

Even the usually cheerful UPS man was down when I saw him. When I called out to ask how he was, he said, “I’m ready for the sun to come out!” Me, too. How about you?

I know spring is coming, and it will defeat winter in the end, but the lingering bad weather brings with it its own kind of March madness as my friends and neighbors try to put on brave faces about the weather (“It could be worse!”) and more school closings (“Maybe we won’t lose another day of spring break.”). We’re trying to carry the bliss of beautiful hints and spring and warm, sunny days scattered in with slick roads and wintry mixes and general cold grayness.

At least there’s college basketball to distract us, right? I grew up in a place where this time of year is sacred – not only for Lent and Easter approaching – but also for conference basketball tournaments and then the NCAAs. It was perfectly normal from elementary school through high school to watch basketball at school, occasionally writing essays about the game in French to justify the TV on in the classroom.

There are many who believe tournament time is at the very least worthy of its own national holiday(s). That’s the place I come from, the place where March madness is a perfectly acceptable disease, and you’re the odd outlier if you don’t suffer from it.

There were games last night, and there will be more games to come, but today, to escape the other sort of March madness, I ventured out on this cold, rainy day, looking for signs of spring. Here are some of my favorites to share with you:

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Witchhazel is already blooming.

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Peach blossoms getting ready.

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Another kind of peach tree, ready to welcome spring

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Buds on a weeping smoothleaf elm

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More peach blossoms — they were my favorites today.

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An empty trellis waits for spring.

You may remember my post a few summers back about the passion flower. This trellis is where their vines will reappear when the weather is right. If you need a shot of summer right now, revisit the post.

I’m clearly not the only one suffering from March madness, given some of the art installations I discovered on my journey:

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What?

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A new monster has emerged from the soil over the winter.

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Turned mad from a prolonged winter?

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The tail end of the mad monster

I hope these photos bring you some smiles, along with the knowledge that nature knows it’s time for spring to arrive. In the meantime, scroll down for another way to beat the madness that March brings.

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Tread carefully around those whose eyes are filled with any variety of March madness.

It’s hard to turn anywhere without seeing a March madness bracket of some sort (favorite Southern city, favorite rock songs, favorite desserts). I’ve been thinking that if the four seasons were each brackets, how on earth would winter’s bracket have sixteen things? I mean, I could see the other seasons needing play-in games, but winter? I struggled, but here’s my list of winter’s 16 (I hope you’ll fill in the lines yourself):

(1) Christmas
(16) Snow days (The lowest seed this year for being the obnoxious Cinderella team that won’t quit)

(8) Sledding
(9) Fires in the fireplace

(5) Hibernating snakes
(12) Soup

(4) Camellias
(13) Fuzzy socks

(6) Less chafing while running (Non-runners have to trust me on this one.)
(11) Low humidity

(3) Hot chocolate
(14) Indoor track

(7) Down comforters
(10) No poison ivy

(2) No mosquitoes
(15) Fewer gardening chores

So who would win winter’s bracket? What did I leave out that you think should be in this bracket? Is there any winter team that could take on spring and therefore meet the autumn/summer winner in the final match-up? Which season would win it all and why? Jump in the game with your thoughts below.

9 thoughts on “March madness

  1. Typically, snow days would be much further up the list, but since in all of the “snow days” we had this year there was only one good sledding day, I agree that they are the Cinderella team that won’t quit! This is very clever. So enjoyed the photography and the post.

    • I’m so glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post. I’m hoping we’re done with snow days. I completely agree with you: if the sledding isn’t good, it’s not a great snow day. 🙂

  2. First of all, I think that I have lost enough blood this winter to call shenanigans on the inclusion of “less chafing” anywhere on this list. In lieu of this obvious imposter on the list, I would have included “not having every outdoor activity end in a pool of sweat”. Of course, that entry may have been my top seed. 🙂

    Of the choices that you provided, I would go for Soup and No Mosquitos for the championship with Soup taking victory. (Those #12 seeds have a good history of upsets!)

    Fun post. Thanks!

    • I like your suggestion to replace “less chafing,” even though for me, less chafing has been a fun aspect of winter. I like the idea of soup winning. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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