The month plays with us, teases us, and teaches us. On Thursday the outfield of the baseball field poked through the snow, brown patches with just a barest hint of green. It was reasonable to contemplate leaning against the white Carr Field fence to listen to the pop of the ball in gloves and the crack of the bat. A week of sun could have gotten us there, maybe ten days. But this morning there is a winter storm warning posted with snow tallies predicted to range from 12 to 20 inches. A quick scan of the Weather Channel calendar reveals more snow possible next week. The infield, the mound, and the outfield will be under snow for longer than expected. Lesson #1: Patience.
The sugar maples awaken and clear beads of sap roll off the ends of the taps like a strand of pearls to gathering in the quintessentially New England and timeless grey buckets. The grass greens near the south-facing building foundations with their small brush-like blades painting an early spring picture. The mallards and wood ducks ride the snowmelt ponds or the rolling waters of the Blackwater. Disturbed, they explode from the water with their clacking calls and whistling wing beats. Lesson #2: Small moments yield great beauty.
We sweep the sand from the walks and away from the entrance of buildings. The detritus from the winter that emerges with spring – bits of trash, blow down from trees – and is picked up. The margins of driveways where the snowplow has torn up slabs of turf are raked over, the ruts from car or truck in the soft dirt patched up. With more snow comes more plowing, more ruts, more pick up. Lesson #3: Repetition is a part of life maintenance.
Some people despair this shoulder month with its wild swings of weather and its moodiness, but I find it to be one of the most energizing and delightful stretches. No summer doldrums here. It’s all action, sharpening of the senses, and deepening one’s appreciation. Today, we’re not necessarily looking forward to this last roar before April, but when that grass finally greens and we are on our fields, when the t-shirts are here to stay and shorts are not an aberration, how much sweeter it will all seem after the month of March.
Mike Henriques P'11, P'15
Proctor Academy Head of School