Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Life in the Pedestrian Lane: It’s March

March is the trickster month, probably why we see so much raven activity these days

Can you believe it is the middle of March? (The actual Ides of March were on the 15th, but that is not an observance much attended to anymore, at least in the U.S. Most of us never heard of it until we learned about Caesar, or read some Shakespeare.)

March is the trickster month, probably why we see so much raven activity these days. We watch it arrive, expecting warmth and sunshine and balmy days, and for awhile it lures us in with sunny skies and melting icicles than BOOM, we get zapped with a snow storm and zero weather, just as a last reminder that it is only March and this IS Alaska.

But the Iditarod is in the books ( despite a very unexpected scratch that changed the entire scenario); we have sprung ahead an hour, the tripod is up on the Tanana at Nenana and Spring break is over on Monday. All immediate signs of March in Alaska.

I’d say it came in like a lion; it roared right up until the first, then sorta stopped and licked its paws, but the remnants are here: big piles of snow, below-freezing nights; but there is honest heat in the sun. Another indicator of good things to come: The first day of spring is less than a week away (at least on the calendar).

Some of my friends reminded me that it’s not spring until you can change your snow boots for rubber boots, or there is water in the parking lots rather than ice. Others mentioned no icicles, dripping or not, robins, green leaf buds, baby moose, getting rid of the heavy coat, even no more static electricity. Whatever your gauge, spring might be off a ways yet.

March doesn’t have much going for it in terms of holidays.

Once in a blue moon Easter comes at the end of the month, otherwise St. Patrick’s Day is it and that was yesterday. I remember St. Patrick’s Day in elementary school. Not a real party day, like Valentine’s Day, but a nominal observation, at least by the students.

If you didn’t have visible green somewhere, you for sure got pinched. The primary teachers would have cut out shamrocks to pin on our shirts for those who may have forgotten so no one went home black and blue from being pinched all day.

About third or fourth grade, the green construction paper and blunt-end scissors were available to cut out our own shamrocks. The lunch ladies may have remembered with green-frosted cupcakes or a sugar cookie shaped like a shamrock — maybe even some green Kool-Aid. I don’t remember ever any classroom parties or school sponsored dances specifically for St. Patrick’s Day.

Later in life, green beer became a thing, if St. Patrick’s Day was on the weekend. I expect it was a thing no matter what day, but not for those of us with a life that seldom included the party scene. Hubby did a stint as a bartender one winter in a very local tavern. I learned a lot by osmosis that year, green beer probably the most benign.

March is a turning point in Alaska. We really notice the growing light; lots of days are sunny, even warm compared to the weeks before and we start to wake up, making plans for gardens and road trips, ice fishing, maybe a party or other get-together with friends we may not have seen all winter.

We start hearing from relatives planning a trip to Alaska and wondering how far it is from here to Fairbanks and can we come up for an afternoon when their tour is in town.

So it’s time to put away the jig-saw puzzles, save the reading for bedtime, shelve the hobbies and crafts and start looking for bare patches along the road and new birds in the neighborhood. It will be a while before we see a daffodil or can put out the lawn chairs but every day we measure the drift by the road and think “maybe two weeks.”

Even for Alaska, it has been a very long winter.

And it’s March! In two weeks it will be April. Obviously, T.S. Eliot didn’t live in Alaska, or he’d have named March the cruelest month, (although we won’t see any lilacs now, or even in April). But we survived another one. The grandkids will hunt Easter eggs in the snow again, and March will be something to look back on next year and compare.

Let’s hope at least it goes out like a lamb.

More in Life

Promotional image via the Performing Arts Society
Saturday concert puts jazz, attitude on stage

Lohmeyer is a former local music teacher

The author holds a copy of Greta Thunberg’s, “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference,” inside the Peninsula Clarion building on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Thunberg speeches pack a punch

“No One Is Too Small to Make A Difference” is a compilation of 16 essays given by the climate activist

White chocolate cranberry cake is served with fresh cranberries. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Hard-to-ruin cranberry cake

This white chocolate cranberry cake is easy to make and hard to ruin — perfect for my students aged 3, 6, 7 and 7.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: It’s March

March is the trickster month, probably why we see so much raven activity these days

After Pres. Woodrow Wilson commuted his death sentence to life in prison, William Dempsey (inmate #3572) was delivered from Alaska to the federal penitentiary on McNeil Island, Wash. These were his intake photos. (Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks archives)
A Nexus of Lives and Lies: The William Dempsey story — Part 7

The opening line of Dempsey’s first letter to Bunnell — dated March 19, 1926 — got right to the point

Bella Ramsey as Ellie and Pedro Pascal as Joel in “The Last of Us.” (Photo courtesy HBO)
On the Screen: ‘The Last of Us’ perfectly adapts a masterpiece

HBO unquestionably knew they had a hit on their hands

Chocolate cake is topped with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A cake topped with love (and white chocolate cream cheese)

He loved the frosting so much he said he never wants anything else on his cake

In 1914, Pres. Woodrow Wilson appointed Charles Bunnell to be the judge of the Federal District Court for the Third and Fourth divisions of the Alaska Territory. (Photo courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks archives)
A Nexus of Lives and Lies: The William Dempsey story — Part 6

Prosecution lawyers were fortunate to have a fallback plan: witnesses to the crime.

The author displays her daily vitamin, three yellowish clear bubbles of Vitamin D, and 20 mg of Paxil. (Photo by Meredith Harber/Minister’s Message)
Minister’s Message: Accepting all parts of your story of growth

I started taking Paxil almost six years ago, after a lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression

Most Read