Monthly Musing – March 2022 – In like a lion …
“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”
Or more appropriately this week: “out like a fish” (as the dog and I squelched along sodden footpaths and across wet grass) or “out like a polar bear” as the temperatures dropped and the frost returned.
The implication is that the weather at the beginning of March is still Wintery; loud and blustery, and by the end of the month, much gentler Spring weather has arrived – but of course, the weather does exactly what it wants to do and climate change has no time for old sayings. Two years ago, we were sweltering at this time of the year during the first coronavirus lockdown, and today I’m striding out with the dog with my coat firmly zipped up and ALL the Winter layers still on.
I expect that all languages and cultures have sayings like this – ones that we can remember our grandparents saying and which seemed to be an absolute truth from the mouths of the older generation. I can remember being certain that it was going to rain when cows lay down, that seeing early holly berries meant plenty of snow (perhaps this is true everywhere except the volcanic hotspot of Winwick*) and that if it rained on St Swithun’s Day on 15 July, it was probably going to rain for the next 40 days and nights (St Swithun has had more than his fair share of extra days recently, I think! 🙂 ).
Nowadays, we have science to explain the meanings behind some of the sayings that we grew up with and whilst I think that sometimes it’s a bit of a shame to have to definitely prove something (or not), I find it fascinating that some of them do actually have some scientific basis. There really is a reason why there are red skies at night, or why “mackerel skies” precede rain!
With all the facts and information that we have at our disposal nowadays, it’s easy to dismiss all of these old sayings as nonsense but they are part of the colour of our childhoods and our language. I can still remember being told not to go outside without a vest or a coat on (“cast ne’er a clout till May is out”) and I probably rolled my eyes and took my coat off as soon as I was out of view, but I absolutely believe in not assuming that the frost risk is over until the end of May and wouldn’t dream of risking my seedlings so carefully protected in the greenhouse.
I love that we are a mixture of old sayings and new facts, that we “swear by” things that our parents and grandparents said even if we now know them to be quite ridiculous, and I wouldn’t change any of it.
I’m looking out of the window at my washing blowing in the sunshine. Yes, the end of March might finally be the lamb of the saying – but it’s still not warm so I hope this lamb has its coat on!
* we get very little snow in Winwick even when the surrounding areas are covered in the white stuff; I’m convinced it’s because we live over an undiscovered volcanic hotspot!