March is daffodils and dandelions, when the earth shakes itself from winter's drowsiness, and the sap begins to flow upward to swelling buds.

It is that brief instant in the panorama of earth's history when the day and night are equal in length, when one can look across the valleys and mountains and wonder if an equinoctial storm is on the way.Now pussy willows lift their gray-furred blooms beside the ponds along the highway through Layton. It is also the first yellow tinges of opening forsythias with a bit of color by the garden wall. It is the happy day when song birds arrive and throw plaintive arias to the skies.

March is a steely bright sky. It is also a sharp and penetrating wind from the west that is the farmers' friend, breaking the frosted soil into friable seedbed.

A March wind is an idle wind - one too lazy to go around you so it cuts through. The exposed nests of birds may be blown to shreds by these winds.

March is our head gardener pointing out, at the first gentle wind that brings the whisper of quickening spring, that it is time to get out the ladder, the saw, and the hand clippers and start pruning the apricot tree.

March is trickling water coursing down the side hills and canyons - and not too fast, one hopes, after this past winter's snows. Nature raises her baton and the symphony begins as the singing waters start their long journey to the rivers, lakes and ocean. The tiny streams begin the soft, slow movement that will soon swell to crescendo. When the singing waters begin these tunes, spring is drawing on.

March is the hungriest month for wildlife. Young grass is not yet growing; last year's herbage is withered and dry. Wild birds and animals are hard put to find some of last year's bramble leaves. The squirrels have long since eaten the nuts they buried in autumn - or have forgotten where they left them.

March is white masses of cumulus clouds moving across the blue field overhead. And it is the promise that after a long time of cold and snow, a new season is at hand.

- H.L.