The lions and lambs of March

Karen Wils photo Young deer on a sunny March day.

ESCANABA — They say if March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. Or, it could be just the opposite and come in all gentle and spring-like and then go out with a blizzard!

I am the lamb. I’m welcome on almost everyone’s door step. My cloven hooves make tracks in the soggy snow all around. Beneath the cedar trees is a maze of trails where my family and I spent most of our winter days.

But today the sunshine is on the old snow. There’s a hint of warmth in the air. It is a new month and the days seem to be stretching out longer.

Like a lamb, I’m ready to play.

My coat is fluffy and a bit over sized looking on my small body. I am last year’s fawn, the unofficial “lamb” of the U.P.

Karen Wils photo Crazy as a March hare — snowshoe hare.

I am as welcome as a breath of springtime air!

Icicles drip from the old barn. The wind-damaged maple bough trickles with sweetness. I prance on top of the “cement snow” making my way through the hardwoods and out to the fields.

The daytime highs near forty and the night time lows in the teens put a crust on the snow. Little springtails or “snow fleas” pepper the surface of the snow. It’s a good day for a walk.

A tiny rivulet of water escapes the ice cap on the river and sparkles like diamonds. The red squirrels go berserk chasing each other from the tree tops to the snow crusted ground.

The March hare, our snowshoe hare dances with giddy excitement in the shadows of the frozen swamps.

The “lamb,” our whitetail fawn, goes for a stroll on a sunny day to visit the bird feeder by the cabin. The month of March can be just like that gentle, peaceful, fuzzy-faced fawn in Upper Michigan.

But then in an instant, all that can change!

I am the lion. I’m feared and hated throughout the north country! My huge feline paw prints are rare, but they do occasionally zig-zag through the U.P. snowdrifts.

I am the lion and I am elusive and shy, sticking to the wildest places — especially in the winter. Once in a while, my face or my long tail shows up on a trail camera.

I am a perfect predator just like “old man winter.” Hundreds of miles, I will travel in search of food. My fangs are as sharp as a blizzard’s sting.

I am the cougar the unofficial “lion” of the U.P.

I am like all the bad days in the month of March. I pounce down when you’re least expecting it with wild, strength and power.

Is it a scream, a hiss or just the north wind whipping up another snowstorm? March can still blanket the U.P. with a few good late-season storms.

Even though the hours of daylight are increasing, midnights in March can be as cold as a cougar’s eyes.

Any way we look at it, we are in for a wild ride. March is sure to tease us with spring while giving us more winter to enjoy.

So keep your long johns on while you are out there looking for lambs and lions. Be patient and enjoy each day for what its worth. Happy new month!


Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.