- Charles Dickens
|Mars Disarmed by Venus and the Three Graces|
Jacques Louis David, Oil on canvas, 1824
Musées Royaux Des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium
Whew! We made it through February, which I have nominated for "Meanest Month of the Year." Sorry, February, but if we were in school together, I wouldn't sit at your lunch table.
There is no doubt about it, February was brutal this year. I suppose it was bad all over the globe, but in Weldon Spring, February pelted us mercilessly with ice, snow, sleet, and hail on a fairly regular basis. Such a bully...nope, go find another lunch table, buddy.
March has come in like a lamb this year, with bright sun and moderate temperatures today. That's lovely, especially since Mother Nature threw a nasty little temper tantrum late Sunday night, stomping her feet across the midwest, spewing hail all over, ripping up trees here and there, and throwing them into houses and businesses just hours before the end of February. I don't even think I want to be in the same lunchroom with you, Feb.
Today I welcome March with open arms, glad to move a few weeks closer to spring. I only hope I don't regret this warm welcome I'm handing out to the new guy in school.The mere fact that March showed up like a meek little lamb doesn't bode well (according to folklore) for the end of the month, does it?
March is the warring month, named for Mars, the God of War in Roman mythology (his name was Ares to the Greeks). This is the month when winter and spring typically battle it out on the plains of the midwest, until Spring insists on having her day. I fear it's going to be a nasty fight this year. I hope I'm wrong and March decides to be, as the new guy, friendly and warm. What do you think March holds in store?
Today I wish for you the hint of Spring.
English composer Gustave Holst was a scholar of Greek philosophy and astrology in the early 1900's. His seven-movement orchestral suite, "The Planets" is a nod to the zodiac and the astrological symbols (not to astronomy, as some believe). About an hour long, this entire work deserves a listen, especially if you can hear it live.
This movement, "Mars: The Bringer of War" evokes the full horror of mechanized war, even though it was composed years before the first World War.
Sir Charles Mackerras conducts the BBC Philharmonic orchestra for this performance at the Proms in 2009. (Side note: don't let the the silence at the end of the movement bother you. The audience usually doesn't applaud between movements of any given work.) Enjoy!