When I wrote yesterday's blog post about the mud of March, I felt like I was being pretty upbeat about a less than pleasant time of year. Then I read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's account of March in Toronto.
We say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and if the wind were the main characteristic of the month, I would agree. But who dares to look up while walking outside in March? From one step to the next you don't know if your foot will come down on snow, ice, a puddle with ice lurking at the bottom (a personal favorite), slick you're-on-your-bottom-before-you-knew-you-were-falling mud or the fudge-like mud that seems to sprout hands to grab anyone who ventures by unaware. There ought to be a pig-filled rhyme about March. It seems to me it's perfect weather to be a pig (assuming they don't catch cold easily).
Codman Farm - taken in the fall of 2010
March is messy. It reminds us that spring is on the way, but makes us pay dearly for that bit of hope, with exhaust darkened snow, the appearance of soggy lone gloves and disintegrating junk mail long hidden beneath a blanket of white. It's as if March were having a competition with November to see which one could be more oppressively gloomy and March is winning. November has Thanksgiving as a light at the end of the tunnel. Sorry, but St. Patricks's day just can't compete with sweet potato pie and stuffing. As a kid March seemed endless, sandwiched between two months that each had a week long vacation to break them up.
Since hearing John Sharp, MDinterviewed about his book The Emotional Calendar, I've been trying to pay more attention to not only how the weather, but also my personal associations with different times of year affect my mood. Based on the interview (I haven't read the book yet), Sharp seems to be saying that if we recognize our triggers, we can then lessen their affect on us either by taking action to counteract them or sometimes simply realizing we're in a funk, so we ought to make a greater effort to be pleasant until it passes.
In this vein, I'm making peace with the slurry of weather which is March in New England. Instead of counting down the days to spring, I'm appreciating these last days of winter hibernation. Once more damp earth than snow is visible, I'll feel compelled to garden, tidy, makes plans for the sunny months, and generally not waste a minute of the new found light. So for now I give myself permission to do activities that begin with the phrase "curl up" like reading, quilting, drinking chai and doing the crossword. The warmer weather will bring a wealth of local, bright, crisp veggies that I'll be eager to find new ways to prepare. But until that time there are still a number of comfort foods to try my hand at preparing: beef stew, oven baked mac n' cheese, baked apples...