I’m not trusting that spring is really just around the corner. Call me a skeptic, call me a naysayer, call me negative, call me what you want — well there are some things I would take great offense if you called me them — but I just don’t trust March. March is a tricky month. Sure, it gives us that spring-like light — well at least when the sun is out — and sure we did that silly Springing Forward with the clocks last week and, sure, the birds are, indeed, chirpier than they were last month. Actually, that last one is definitely not a sign of spring since I did not encounter a single living being who was chirpy in February, not-a-one. But March, March is fickle. One day you bravely take off a layer — leave the long johns off or walk out without a hat — and then, March gives you one of those nasty Nah-Nah-Nahs as it throws an ice storm, or snow storm or some other disgusting weather your way.
This March stuff may be the only thing that the cats and I agree on. The other day they insisted, in that obnoxious, impatient way that cats have when they want to be let out on the porch. I blame the twirping little sparrow who was taunting them. I told them, “Hey, believe me, you don’t want to go out. It’s March. It’s still cold.” But, no, they stood nose-to-glass and waited and waited until that knob was turned. It took a mere two minutes of sniffing the air and a few seconds of tiptoeing a paw on the still-icy step to get them back in and demanding that the door be closed! The birds are safe for a little while more.
No, March is not to be trusted. Look what happened to Julius Caesar in March, for goodness sake. He was probably feeling a bit of spring fever, too, as he made way to the Senate, tripping along, smelling the flowers. He was definitely not paying enough attention to “yond Cassius” and “his lean and hungry look”, that’s for sure. No, I’ve learned never to give in to the nibbles of spring that March sometimes give us. I’ve come by this skepticism from experience.
Years ago, when we were young and making our first ever money, my sister, Susie, and I decided that we would go to New York to see the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We were passionately American-Irish in those days thanks to our Doyle mother. She thought it was a great idea but she was the only one. There we were working at Ohio State surrounded by thousands of students packing bikinis and flasks and suntan lotion for their spring break and we, two of the unseen-office-workers on campus, were packing green scarves and green mitts and green shamrocks to head north. People shook their heads at our craziness (stupidity?). “Go to Florida,” they’d say. “There will be lots of boys there.” Maybe that was just too scary to our shy selves. Whatever the reason, we headed to New York. It was cold but bearable on the day before the parade. We were psyched, picking our corner to perch ourselves to watch the parade the next day. We practiced singing our favorite Irish tunes. We were ready. But, then, March did it! It started to snow and snow and snow down on our shamrocks. The parade, for the first time in history, was cancelled. I’ve hated March since.
In DC I could trust March days like today when the sun was actually warm and sunglasses a necessity and the piles of black, sooty, disgusting snow were melting from within ready to be gone, gone, gone. But in DC, by this time, I was already clearing my garden and thinking about what I was going to plant in the next month; pulling out my spring jacket and pondering on the advantages of washing the windows (that seldom actually happened). But here, I know that tomorrow morning the temperature will have plummeted and all that melt from that snow will be slick, slippery, sadistic ice ready to trip me up.
But it’s almost mid-March so we know it can’t go on forever. Even the cats, after their initial, unsuccessful foray to the porch, are getting ready. They’ve been practicing that crunching-of-bone sound that is supposed to terrify birds of all feathers. From what I heard, the birds around Major Street need not worry about these two. And the neighborhood gardening committee is talking of swapping perennials and planting seeds. And, the true sign that spring is near, those beautiful seed catalogues have been delivered. Maybe March will start practicing early this year for its lamb-like exit.