Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hang on to Your Hats

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
 -  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!  


  1. Last to comment last night, and first this morning - well, it's all about work, and I was just about to step out the door when I thought I'd have a quick read. I'm glad I did! I've been up for an hour and a half, having welcomed March with yet another shoveling and sanding of the drive. This is getting tedious! My hope for March is a sudden thaw, a burgeoning of spring - the sort of change that makes 9 year olds try to go to school in shorts and T-shirts, that brings out the smell of the earth, worms on the road and an overwhelming need to get a shovel into my hands (just not for snow removal!)

  2. Remind me to tell you a funny story about the piece by Holst.

    Sometimes it's humiliating to admit that my birthday falls right at the center of February. It was a rather discouraging month in the midatlantic as well. So far, March is looking good. May it continue!

  3. Good morning, Pondside!

    I'm sorry to hear that your weather hasn't yet improved. Let's hope that means that your month will end in sunshine and daffodils.

    Thanks so much for stopping by this morning!

  4. Hello, Reya--you are SO funny! Humiliating to admit you were born in Feb? Haha! I'm grateful that it gives us at least one reason to celebrate in earnest for the gift of your presence!

    My dad was born mid-February, too. I think that's fantastic.

    I'll try to remember to ask you about that Holst story...can't wait to hear it!


  5. Love this! Robins are singing, daffodils are blooming and the sun is shining...awwwwww

    Check this blog out! Pearl, why you little.blogspot... You will love this too!

    Peace and love to you today and always! Love you and the wedding is.....................April 9! YAY!

  6. Thanks, Vicki...I'll check her out!

    A spring wedding...perfect for new beginnings! How beautiful it will be. Love is in the air! ♥


  7. Heyyyyyy now ... as an Aquarian, won't sit at my Feb lunch table??? ouuuuuchhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

    but that is a GREAT line ... well crafted and an amusing thought! GOTTA LOVE IT!!!

    the late country comedian Jerry Clower once said he'd like to vote to reorganize the calendar and put February between July and August. He allowed as how we could use 28 days or some cool and wet weather - with maybe some snow and hail - right in the middle of summer.

    Ciao ...

  8. How did such a tempermental month give birth to so many great people? I'm perplexed by it, but of course, I'd be honored to sit at the same table with you all.

    I think Clower has the exact right idea. How refreshing February would be in the summer!

    It's all about perspective, isn't it?

    Thanks for the visit, Mike, and for adding to the conversation. I always enjoy hearing from you.

  9. jo i love holst - he wrote other pieces as well as the planets that are really pretty and pacific! he speaks to the english boy in me who grew up in an england that doesn't exist any more. february is a tough one - my body grows, my mind shrinks, my heart was strained. but here we are in marchland!!! steven

  10. Yes, Steven, Holst himself expressed disappointment that "The Planets" was his best known work, and far preferred many others of his compositions. Of his orchestral pieces, I'm much more fond of his "St. Paul's Suite" but that wouldn't work with this post, would it? :-)

    So you grew up in England? What else do we not know about you? One surprise after another.

    You put a smile on my face with your description of February! I feel the same way.

  11. Come on Spring! How does that go, in like a lion out like a lamb or in like a lamb out like a lion? So what are you telling us? If March comes on like a lamb, are we to expect some fierce weather. Hope I didn't miss something--a little rushed getting ready for the FIRST FRIDAY of March! Beautiful post as always! xoxo

  12. Hi Dubby...the saying works both ways. "If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. If it comes in like a lamb, it goes out like a lion."

    Have a great First Friday...I'll be with you in spirit!


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