Downright Superstitious

Downright Superstitious

In a passionate way I sit around
looking for the robins basking in the coolness of Spring
waiting for the weather watches
storm warnings
and blankets of severe winds that batter the Plains.

It’s not critical of an administration
though I certainly tend to be
It’s topical and terrifying that our
passive resistance has given way to something tropical
long before May.

On the other side of these enormous windows
sunlight shoves aside the grey
and were I calmer
were I younger and not wiser
I would consider the shadows merely at play.
But now we live in a time where the warmth of the sun
seems a death ray at our backs
and though we run and we run
we are running in cars and cloudy engines
running right back into the murky depths of what we create.

When I was a little girl my grandmother had an old, broken Polish cuckoo clock on the wall in her dining nook. It depicted the Arrival of Spring. An intricate Lion, jaws gaping in what I imagined was a bone-rattling roar as he attempted to intimidate the calm march of Spring back to more southern climes. The roman numeraled clock face stood still at some long forgotten time, a deep golden sun above the back of a group of fluffy white sheep, some gazing at it with reverence, while others bowed their heads to the ceramic grass to eat.

I asked Nana once “Does the lion want to eat the sheep?”

She replied; “no, Lion is the winter and the Sheep are the Spring. They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

For some reason this terrified me. The idea that mother nature would attack itself, attack us, the powerless finite beings in its path. And this was in Pennsylvania, a place where winter can sink its teeth in as deep as late April if it so chooses.

Years later, I would learn of the Ides of March. My 5th grade reading/english teacher with the fabulous toupee and bolo neck tie and cowboy boots stood at the front of our class, his book in his left hand as he strode across the classroom, telling us of Julius Caesar before hopping forward across the horrid orange 70s industrial carpeting. His free hand jabbed outward, clutching at his imaginary knife “And they stabbed him! They all did! They all stabbed him because they feared he would become a monster of a dictator!” He was loud, and engaged and it made most of the class giggle. But I was engrossed, I was hooked on the story, and I jumped at his exclamation. “They assassinated Caesar because they feared he would become what?” my teacher asked. I whispered the word dictator. But was too shy to put my hand up and say it out loud.

“That’s right Ms Lacy.” He had heard me anyway. “A dictator. Who else knows what a dictator is, other than Cate?”

Some one answered the question, but I was still riveted in my yellow plastic chair. Once he was satisfied with the response, my teacher continued on. “This happened many, many, many years ago, 44 BC on this exact day, March 14th, the Ides of March.” He crouched down then, making what I can only think to call “spooky fingers” at us. “This is why you’ll commonly hear people tell you to ‘bewaaaaaaAAAaaaaaaAAAAre the Ides of MaaaaaaaaAAAAaaarch…”

There was a titter of laughter, but it sent chills down my scrawny spine. March was already terrifying enough with the “in like a Lion” bit.

I don’t know a single other soul who feels unease in March. Many people celebrate the oncoming Spring, as indeed, we spring forward an hour, gain more daylight and it unofficially feels like winter is a thing of the past.

But my little girl fears of scary weather and betrayal of trusted friends leaves me anxious as March rolls around each year. Some think October is the haunted month, but to me, March fills that void. Another year of my life has passed soundly by March 1st. By that date I am no longer accidentally writing the previous year on forms. With the oncoming rebirth of Mother Nature, I am supposed to bury all the bad things and worries from the previous cycle as winter is erased from the planet. But, what if I’m not ready?

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