The Winds of March


March at the rabbit patch is a very windy affair.  The territory is situated in a particular area where the  wind blows without mercy.  This makes us subject to storms with gusts that send the rockers off the porch and the tin off the barns.  Twice, we have had “downdraft” storms which are quick and brutal.  When it is over, the Farm Life residents come out from their homes, in a daze and scan the countryside, making sure everyone is accounted for.  Farmers armed with tractors and chainsaws go to work, clearing the debris.  Anything not nailed down is usually found weeks later in the woods and ditches, and returned by the finders.

Not every day is so harsh, in March, but even on the ordinary days, the wind will keep us as house bound as any winter weather.  I do not know how blossoms hold their own in March.   March is not the time to plan a picnic.  It is not the time to put the geraniums on the front porch, either.  We turn the rockers, so that they look as if they are kneeling in  constant prayer.  Wreaths and flags, do not stand a chance of surviving the March wind, at the rabbit patch.

Lyla loves wind-she always has.  Once, when she was not a year old-  on a day full of wind, I took her on a walk to the laughing river.  I parked the stroller, on the grassy open lot by the rivers’ bank. She laughed aloud as the wind tasseled her hair and caused her blanket to fly about wildly, as if it were alive. On that day, the wind was warm and playful.

When I was growing up, March was the time to fly kites.  We never bought a kite-Daddy made them.  We would stand in the front yard, with a field in front of us and watch the kite climb the sky, til it was barely visible.  If the twine broke, the children would make a mad dash to recover “the long, lost friend”.  Often we ran til we couldn’t, the distance was so great-and it is  very difficult to run in a freshly plowed field, even for children.  In my earliest memory, I remember that I cried,  the first time that the twine snapped and set the kite free. Daddy had worked a good deal of time with newspaper, scrap plastic and little sticks, to make that kite. We had watched him in silence, as it seemed like such a great project.  When the twine snapped, I was sure , the kite was gone forever and that daddy would be heartbroken. I did not fall for my cousin Chris’ story, nor take any comfort that the kite had gone to Heaven to be with Grandmama-and I was right as after a search, the kite was found in a ditch at least a half mile away.

 I have never been able to fly a kite with any great success-let alone make one. Every March, when my children were little, I would attempt .  I had great determination, but still the kites would climb a few measly feet and take to darting about, before plummeting in a deadly dive .  The children ceased to stand anywhere near, where the kite was, as it seemed to target one of them every time, it took a dive. 

It seems folks do well with kites at the beach.  They leave them unattended, and still the kites float peaceably above the water.  Children build castles in the sand, beneath the kites, without any fear whatsoever.  Todays’ kites are colorful and you can see every sort of shape-dragons, birds and such things.  As lovely, as it is to look up and see the sky full of pretty kites, I remember clearly the early spring evenings in my childhood, watching our kite soar mightily, over a field of winter wheat-and I think, ours, made from scraps,  is still the most beautiful kite I have ever seen.