March 2, 2010

Publisher’s Corner

Graham, EloiseBy Eloise Graham

March – a time of uncertainties but a time of promise!

The weather in March is certainly an uncertain given. In like a lion and out like a lamb. Or vice-versa. Do you remember that from your childhood? To me that phrase proves that March has always been an unpredictable, turbulent month. There must have been some reason for coining such a phrase. I tried to look it up on the all-knowledgeable web. I found a lot of stories about March and its weather, but when I tried to find the origin of the adage, I was told, “This question has not been answered yet.” So another uncertainty attributed to March.

I did retrieve a couple of facts on my search:

(1) A description of adages vs proverbs:
Adages – Adage is a short memorable saying that transmits wisdom. Famous old adages have gained some credibility through their long use. Some old famous adages are based on the words of old folk wisdom.
Proverbs – A proverb is an ancient saying, of unknown authorship, that transmits the wisdom of a group of people.
Before people knew how to read and write, they passed knowledge by word of mouth, often using both adages and proverbs.

(2) Perhaps the old adage “In like a lion, out like a lamb” came about because of the constellations. March comes in during the House of Leo – the Lion, and goes out during the House of Aries – the Ram or Lamb. But that doesn’t explain the vice versa part.

In my 60 some years, I remember only one March that was a lion at both beginning and end. All of the others were turbulent at one end of the month and gentle at the other, so there must be something to it!

Another uncertainty, the time change! This year, on March 14, daylight savings time will go into effect. I will probably spend the rest of the month uncertain as to the time! I always seem to have at least one or two clocks that are an hour off, one way or the other.

The clock in my car will finally be right again. It is a hard clock to change. One has to hold one button down exactly 30 seconds, then punch in the correct sequence immediately without any pauses or it reverts back. Last year, I spent 15 minutes to get it right. So this last fall I just left it alone.

March holds many promises. Birds sing their morning songs announcing the coming of spring – some have already started. They also start their nesting rituals, planning for new life. Some early perennials show their little heads, reaching for the sunlight that is increasing minute by minute each day. The little creatures that hibernate are slowly waking up. March is coming alive.

The Ides of March

Do people still talk about the Ides of March? I took Latin I and II in high school and we talked about the Ides of March. In English class, we studied Shakespeare and again talked of the Ides of March. I mentioned it to my daughter, and she had no idea as to what or when it was.

So back to the all-knowledgeable web. I’ll enlighten you. The Idus Martias, which is Latin for the Ides of March, is the name of March 15 in the Roman calendar. The term ides was also used for the 15th day of the months of May, July, and October. The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated in 709 AUC or 44 B.C. In William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Caesar is warned to “beware the Ides of March.” It was a dooms day for him.

Modern celebrations of that date include: the celebration every year by the Rome Hash House Harriers with a toga run in the streets of Rome, in the same place where Julius Caesar was killed; the annual dinner in New Windsor, NY hosted by the Temple Hill Association, in honor of the Ides of March because it is also the day that General George Washington quelled a mutiny of his Officers in 1783; and the annual spring event hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of the Dagorhir Battle Games Association at Red Horse Stables on the weekend closest to the 15th of March.

One thing that I am not uncertain about is that I hope March delivers many promises to you. Enjoy this month, and I’ll see you next month.

Filed Under: History

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