My father used to say it’s a long climb up March Hill.

He knew an old man in ill health who said he didn’t know if he’d make it up March Hill that next year.

And he was right. In the middle of March, he passed away.

It’s true that March is a transition month, when we turn the corner from winter to spring.

In winter we resign ourselves to the clutches of weather. We know what we’re in for. It’s cold and blowing, and we hunker down and want to hibernate.

But March is half out of winter and half into summer. We become uneasy, antsy and irritable.

It’s not a particularly pleasant month.

It’s dirty and muddy and messy and wet and we want to revolt.

In the old days, we couldn’t use the sleigh in March because the snow was melting and the roads were too rough; we couldn’t take the car out because the tires would get stuck in the mud.

After February leaves, we find ourselves in a kind of purgatory that seems to last forever until we ultimately can bust out of the stall.

Once we officially make it to spring, which arrives March 20 this year, we’ll start our long descent into summer.

Finally, we’ll be able to see the summit of March Hill. We know that beyond that, there’s sun, warmth and the moving out of doors.

Having set the clocks ahead early yesterday, we’re already on the way.

The evenings will be lighter longer.

Beware the Ides of March, Caesar; but St. Patty’s Day, Maine Maple Sunday and Easter celebrations aren’t far behind.

Soon we’ll be poring through seed catalogs, planting seedlings in sunny windows and sketching out our garden plans.

Oh, it’ll snow, but we know it won’t stay long.

March is, after all, winter’s final hurrah.

And once we reach her summit and start our final descent, there’s no turning back.

The worst is over.

The aches and pains our old bodies have borne through the winter begin to ease. Our minds emerge from fog. We begin to hope.

Is that a spring in our step?

The nice thing about living in Maine is, ironically, having a change of seasons.

We wait for and welcome the transition from winter to spring, spring to summer, summer to fall, and then to winter.

The variety keeps us versatile, flexible, engaged and on our toes.

Just when we’ve had enough of one season, in comes another.

The toughest transition, though, comes along in the form of March — the month I think most of us would prefer to delete from the calendar.

But we don’t get off that easily.

It’s a rugged climb up March Hill, all right, but take heart.

In three short weeks we’ll reach the summit.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 25 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]

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