Musings from the Hill, March 5, 2015
Stormy March has come at last, trumpets lustily blowing to summon wild winds as dry leaves scatter in its path. We quickly traversed along the shores of our Lake Woebegone and noted not a bird or song. Where were the snows of yesteryear? Candy, my daughter living near Dallas, called to say ice and snow were alive and in full play down Texas way. Her nieces and nephews and Chelsea, my great-granddaughter, had a hard time finding hats, mittens and scarves for all of my great-great-grandchildren. They were excited to be able to play in the ice and snow. Long ago in New Jersey, I remember chanting this ditty: “Ladies and gentlemen take my advice, Pull down your britches and slide on the ice!”
Often we piled high on our brothers’ Flexible Flyers and ended up scattered along the descent in all directions. My son, Pres, had to find a substitute to take his place for his high school prom date after a sledding mishap. My husband hired a small private plane to fly him to Washington, D.C., to play “catch-up for the prom.” An expensive sled ride.
March was well named by the Romans, Martius for Mars, the god of war: traditionally the beginning of their military campaigns. The Saxons named March, Hlyd Monath, meaning loud or stormy. Usually this is true, but March can be deceptive. One day we hear wind-driven sleet tinkling on the windows, followed by a benign day of warm sunshine that finds us searching for the first violet of a beloved, longed-for SPRING!
According to old beliefs, “April borrowed from March three days and they were considered unlucky.” Many farmers still will not plant until April 4. Long ago soothsayers foretold, “If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” Although March was the third month of the Julian calendar, in the oldest Roman calendar it was the first month of the year.
Baldwin is more fortunate today than in 2007 when around us we had the turbulent winds and threats of tornados. Reports came in of baseball-sized hail, thunderstorms, flooding and heavy snows. Power lines and fences were down, cattle and horses were out roaming the fields, and barns and houses received damage.
So far this year, March has been cold and windy but without the damage we experienced in 2007. However, according to weather forecasts, storms, snow, ice and cold are predicted for the coming weeks. Even though the predictions are forbidding, storms will put much needed water into the expansion project of Baker Wetlands and help with the severity of the prevailing drought. We need water and rains that capricious March may provide. The early spring snows are critical for our fields and farms. We appreciate any benefits that fickle March may bring.
"The stormy March has come at last, with wind and cloud and changing skies, I hear the rushing of the blast, that through the snowy valley flies.” William Cullen Bryant 1794-1878.