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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

basketball

March Madness Used to Mean Basketball; Now It Means Weather



Maybe I'm just a little disappointed that all the basketball teams I usually root for have been eliminated in the first two rounds of March Madness. I can't even get excited about a team from Ohio this year, although that's my home state. When your state has four teams in the Sweet Sixteen, how do you choose? Or perhaps that question should be, "How do you lose?"  for whatever the reason, basketball has not kept me glued to the TV this year. Perhaps that's why I've been noticing the changes in the weather.

The first day of Spring comes in March, and we have every reason to hope the world will start turning green.  In Memphis, however, you can't count on that.  Statistically, it is as likely to snow on March 20th as on any day of winter.  Not this year, though! In terms of weather, it's been spring in Memphis for the whole month of March.  Yesterday, while folks out west were complaining of snow, the thermometer mounted in the shade of our front porch showed 91 degrees. 

Since the neighborhood did not turn not white from snow in March, the Bradford pear trees have produced enough white blossoms to create their own snowfall. At the same time, the wonderful old post oaks in the south grow long fuzzy catkins in the spring, and they are capable of producing enough pollen paint your car yellow if you are silly enough to park under one. Yesterday we walked out of an office building in early afternoon to find visible clouds of yellow pollen sweeping across the parking lot. Our shiny red car was orange.

The most dependable signs of spring are the migrations.  This morning when I went out to get the paper, a honking chorus from overhead announced that a gaggle of geese were heading to cooler climates, their wings flapping hard against the  warm and windy conditions. Our little juncos and red-winged blackbirds have headed north, along with those other snow-birds, the folks from along the U. S./Canada border, who have been keeping warm in Florida all winter. You'll see them on the interstate, chugging along in their overloaded motor homes.  Another migration path leads south in March – northern college students on Spring Break.  You'll want to avoid them on the highways, too. 


There is a vertical migration as well.  Do you want to know how close spring really is?  Check to see how far down in the dirt you have to dig to find an earthworm. Their migrations may only cover a distance of six inches or so, but when they start to stick their wormy little heads up in your garden, spring is definitely here. Last Saturday morning, we spent some time working on a Lions Club project--planting some 450 redbud trees along the edges of the woods in a city park. We had help from a group of optometry students, for whom part of the fun of digging all those holes was counting how many worms they turned up. 

Everywhere I look, March is "Madly" proclaiming that winter is over.  So hang in there, all you folks in Idaho and northern California. Some of this glorious weather will be heading your way soon. Even if  your favorite basketball team doesn't win.