In Like a Lamb
The wet, freezing, morose winds of winter must have eyes and those eyes must have been looking at a calendar because, on the first day of March, those harsh winds of winter ceased, and March came in like a lamb.
The walks and ways and forest trails that were just last week buried under a foot or more of snow are now clear and dry and ready for walking, and biking, and the laughter of children playing in the still-chilly March air.
March, where I live, is a cruel month. And just because it came in like lamb does nothing to change my opinion of this wicked mistress of months. The sunny days that have persisted since the first day of March, don’t fool me. I know better. And though I am loath to use a cliché, I will anyway.
The worst may well be yet to come.
I saw many people in the park yesterday, musing on benches, walking dogs, and watching their small children play on the swings and monkey bars. Where were they a week ago while I trudged knee-deep in snow, out-of-breath, gasping from the exertion? Walking through snow over a foot deep is not easy – it’s like walking through shallow quicksand.
While I slogged, gasping, through snow up to my knees, the deserted park mocked and echoed my heavy breathing… and the crunch of my steps through the snow.
But yesterday the park was full of people enjoying the spring-like weather, some even ditched their winter coats and accouterments. Not me. I sweated in my downy winter coat. I eventually unbuttoned it because I was sweating in the early-March sun.
March, being a fickle femme – sorry ladies – is just as capricious as she is fickle, scuttled the sunny spring days and today is cloudy, windy, and cold. Not winter-cold, mind you, but cold. It’s twenty-five degrees colder than it was yesterday and the winds are bending the bare, skeletal trees, all still sleeping and waiting for spring.
Trees, unlike people, are not fooled by an out-of-place springlike day in the first week of March. They know better. You’d think people would too. Bur people, unlike trees, have something called optimism. After a year of a pandemic and a long, dark, snowy winter, who can blame anyone for a little sunny optimism?
I’ll be back out there today, fending off the chilly March wind, hoping the gray sky won’t decide to spray a chilly rain down upon me. And I’ll walk the sidewalks and trails and I’ll pass through the park that just yesterday was alive and full of laughter and chatter and find nothing but brittle barren trees and the ever-chilling sound of an unrelenting early-March wind.
March can’t fool me. I’m too old for that. Too many decades have passed in my life for me to be optimistic about the wicked, fickle, crazy month of March.
And just because March came in like a lamb does not guarantee it will go out like a lion – although I would not doubt that it will. The end of March is not much different than the beginning as all the winter things are still very much in play: The snow; the cold; the wind; the eternal universal yearning for a better tomorrow.
The park and the trail today will be lonely and quiet. I will see no bicyclers, no dog walkers, no children on roller skates, no skateboarders, no old couples moseying along holding hands enjoying the respite from the cruelty of winter.
Plutarch, the soothsayer, warned Julius Caesar to “beware the ides of March”. I’m not a soothsayer but I warn everyone to beware of the cruel capriciousness of March.
Whether March goes out like a lion or not, it came in like a lamb. And for that I am thankful. But I’m not naive enough to believe winter is over – that we’re done with the snow – or the brutal winds – or the biting cold. The one positive thing about March is that it is a bridge to April and April is the rainbow bridge to summer.
And when I see the darling buds of May appearing on the trees along the wooded trail, I will know spring has come and the stage is finally set for summer. And I’ll look back at the fickle month of March and I’ll be glad it came and even gladder that it is gone.
This year March came in like a lamb, and whether it does out like a lamb or a lion makes no difference to me. The days are getting longer, the nights are getting shorter, and spring is surely on the way. But it will not come in March as the calendar says, but it will come, nonetheless.
I know it will.