Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

March Folklore of Hope

snowy farm field with lambs in a light snow

Hello fellow readers, This morning, Curt recited the familiar folklore that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Then I reversed it as my mom always did.”In like a lamb out like a lion.” He had never heard it that way.

In like a lion out like a lamb
daffodills about to bloom covered wiht snow on Easter morning

A snowy Easter Morning

Upon researching, it seems, per the history of the 19th-century English proverb, the saying is not also in reverse. Maybe it’s an Emma Stone original— my dear old mom was fluent in idioms, though it seems logical the expression could be the opposite; Think back on all the snowy Easters we’ve had after a mild March start.

Many mists in March – Many frosts in May

As I write, the world is in a fog due to the warming air above the blanket of snow. Or, more positively, a mist is in the air, which brings another saying. So many mists in March you see, so many frosts in May will be. Uh-oh!

The vernal equinox, or spring equinox, is always on or about March 20th in the northern hemisphere and September 22nd in the southern hemisphere. This year March 20th is indeed the official start of spring.

Official versus Meteorological Spring.

Weather forecasters, however, consider March 1st the start of meteorological spring. Seasons vary in length from 89 to 93 days, making it challenging to compare data from year to year. Meteorologists divide the year into four equal seasons of three consecutive months—nice and neat and tidy. But Mother Nature isn’t always neat and tidy.

Last March, you may recall, we had thunderstorms with heavy rains and hail. Thunderstorms in March occur when it’s unusually warm, and there’s a significant temperature difference between the ground and the sky along with sufficient moisture. Last winter was mild with little snow and plenty of rain.

a foggy farm field with snow on March first.

A misty March 1st morning in Blairstown, NJ.

When March blows its horn…

When March blows its horn, your barn will be filled with hay and corn. I’m not sure of the origin of the old-time farmer saying, one of Mom’s favs having grown up on a dairy farm.

Then there’s thunder in March betokens a fruitful year. Betokens means a sign or indication, but it’s not a promise. The only sure thing about life and weather is that it’s forever changing. We have no control over the cycles of life.

It’s hard to imagine it’s coming upon a year since the lockdown—since the pandemic took away so many lives and freedoms.

Then there’s the fear— warranted in many ways, given the devastation of the inexplicable virus. Sadly, media and politicians did their share promoting fear to boost ratings and votes. Life isn’t always neat and tidy.

Choosing love over fear.

When you think about it, there’s only fear and love. Other feelings are subsets of them. Worry, anger, and anxiety, for example, stem from fear. In contrast, there’s kindness and generosity based on love. So is hope.

While the old sayings about the weather are fun to consider, we have no control over nature. We can, however, control our ability to spread love to grow feelings of hope.

In like a lion out like a lamb implies a balance in weather, a balance in life. After something bad comes something good—there is love opposing fear. There is hope in the promise of change and new beginnings.

Garden Dilemmas? (and now on your favorite Podcast App.)

Speaking of thunderstorms, you’ll enjoy a column on the subject titled Counting Mississippi Grounding.

This column is part of Episode 26 of the Garden Dilemmas Podcast on all your favorite podcast apps and link below:

Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary
  1. Kathy Reply

    Very nice.
    Although I have been gardening for decades, Lunar Planting is something I had not heard about before. Never too old to learn new things.

    Mary has a very calming voice and her podcast encourages reflection.

    • Mary Stone Reply

      Hello Kathy! I learn new things every day from clients, readers (and listeners) like you. Grateful. Thank you for your kindness, Mary

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