March comes in like a Lion and leaves like a Lamb
“Like many proverbs for the month of March, it can be traced back to Thomas Fuller’s 1732 compendium, “Gnomologia; Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British.”
Fuller compiled numerous proverbs and studied weather lore across many countries through the late 1600s and early 1700s.”
Tom Sater, CNN, 3/2/21
This is definitely one of my least favorite months.
I don’t worry so much about “Beware the ides of March” – – it’s the whole month that’s unreliable and treacherous. It lulls us with brief interludes of spring weather – – so you let your guard down and start putting away the heavy coats, hats, gloves, scarves and boots – – before stabbing you with ice storms and never-ending sniffles.
I just took a look at that scene in Shakespeare’s play. Cassius is telling Brutus that “we can both endure the winter’s cold” as well as Caesar – – but I noticed, none of those guys lived in Milwaukee.
Try walking around here in a toga during the winter and you’ll start losing body parts pretty quickly.
The freezing-and-thawing breaks up the roads and often leaves an icy glaze on the sidewalks, so walking around is really less a matter of marching and more of a dangerous schlep. I recently ran across the term “footslog,” another good term for getting through this month. I looked it up, it’s new to me but found it’s been in use since 1897, I guess it just took a long slog to get here.
March can be bad news, as when the “warming trend” sometimes turned out to be nuclear meltdowns and radioactive leakage — Fukushima and Three Mile Island ( March 11, 2011 and March 28, 1979 respectively) — or the Iraq War, which began in March 2003. John Philip Sousa, the March King, died in March.
One of my grandmothers lived in the Genesee Valley, south of Rochester, NY and would talk about the ice storm of March 1991, which brought down thousands of trees and left her without electricity for two weeks. There were chainsaws, chippers and stump-grinders roaring for weeks. Parking lots all over town had huge piles of wood chips and sawdust, which began fermenting and steaming like little volcanoes and sometimes would begin smoldering through spontaneous combustion.
She was sad about the loss of trees, but otherwise had a pretty good time. She refused to leave her house, cooked meals in the fireplace and ate by candlelight. When a utility crew finally showed up on her street, to clear fallen limbs and reconnect the electric lines, she went out to bring them coffee and was delighted to find that they were from her hometown in northeast Pennsylvania.
March Comes In Like a Lion?
Yeah, it was a typo.
Not like a lion,
it was meant as a warning,
March comes in, lying.
A nasty flimflam man,
Selling ice to the Eskimos.
Shows up every year here in River City
with a Spring in his step
Talking of green pastures and lambs
Just spinning yarns and waving arms
Full of wind and promises
March is a thug named for the god of war
And just like his dad,
A blustering blowhard
Always running with a chill goon squad
Ready to ice somebody,
All hail! and sleet.
The Sun tries to smile, get a look in
But March just bares his gray teeth
And pulls the clouds shut again.
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