March is not my favorite month. It's definitely not spring and it's not the crystalline beauty of January either. It's... March.
Melting snow. Freezing snow. Falling snow. Dirty snow. Some days feel like honest-to-goodness winter, the morning temperatures hover at 0F. And other days you feel sweaty and overdressed in woolens, as the snow melts, dripping off every snow covered surface (of which there are many).
We get a little antsy in March. I've taken enough trips around the sun to anticipate this transition (knowing it's coming doesn't always make it easier but sometimes it does) and so when we feel this way I don't push through our plans and routines. There's a reason public school takes a break this month.
I don't have any weeklong school breaks planned for this month - we had a nice February break - but I'm open and looking for opportunities to add some "jazz" to our late winter days.
Any day now, sugaring season will start and I've volunteered the kids and I to help our neighbors with the "harvest". Collecting sap, tending the sugar shack woodstove, boiling syrup and warmer days - I can't wait.
The kids are in the community St. Patrick's Day concert (en Anglais) next week. A first ever for our kids to participate in a musical performance like this. The small community where we live seems happy to have fresh "talent" and fresh faces to add to their usual roster. (We are warmly and curiously received everywhere we go.)
Yesterday the kids and I ventured to a neighboring town to visit a museum and a funky, tourist friendly downtown. The museum was great. An awesome addition to our homeschooling this week. The art store, full of colorful beads and and paints, was a balm for winter weary souls.
I know I talk sometimes about living in the boonies, maybe not in my posts but in comments and online conversation. That's not totally true. It's hard to describe what it's like where we live.
It's fairly rural. The towns are small. There's no mall. No McDonald's. No Target. And really no "big" city anywhere close. The library service leaves much to be desired. There are no homeschoolers to speak of. No Whole Foods. No Trader Joes. In the winter, nothing is open after 5:30pm, except Tim Hortons.
And yet, when you drive along the coast there's a town every 15 minutes. Many with nice cafes, restaurants, microbreweries & boulangeries (bakeries). There are galleries, art supply stores (with classes), museums, and community centers for music and culture. And there's a lot more I keep discovering that isn't apparent at first glance. Treasures that I had a sense existed but you don't know until you stumble on them.
Of course many of these community resources are en Francais. But there are pockets of anglophones (right now we live in an anglophone village) to help ease our transition into a French speaking province. And miracle of miracles I am slowly beginning to understand the francophones. I really do need to follow through on my plans for some language lessons though.
In the summer there are festivals and markets, organic farms and beaches. (Of course the beaches and farms exist all year round but we can't truly enjoy them until summer.) There is a history here and a distinct culture. And mountains. The mountains with untold backcountry skiing, summer hiking and backpacking. And more outdoor stores, per capita, than other other place we've ever lived.
The neighbors we've connected with (having people in our home and being invited over likewise) are friendly and interesting. Many have grown up in the region and traveled other places but have returned here, to the safety and beauty of this area, to raise their children.
There is a wealth of interesting things to do and see here but we moved at the start of the winter season. A time when people retreat indoors, except to snowmobile and ski. A time when, I too, like to retreat and reflect and be home. Now it's March and we're starting the slow ascent out of winter towards spring. (Though I'm guessing we will still ski in the mountains till May.)
It's time to discover and explore a bit more the opportunities and attractions where we live. The very things that drew us to this place on our reconnaissance trips before moving to this region.
That's the March perspective. Venturing out a bit more - field trips, community events, time with neighbors and friends.
Coming out of winter - slowly.