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The Lion and The Lamb Play Tug of War

This week, the lion is winning

I’m stuck here in the middle with you. In this season of uncertainty, the good company is welcome.
    Supposedly Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan were stuck in the middle of record negotiations when they wrote those lyrics, recorded by their band Stealers Wheel in 1972.
    They could have been writing about March, the month that bears the double character of lion and lamb.
    As I write, the lion is roaring.
    The white lamb-like snow we expected this March storm to bring instead assaults in rapid-fire rain, driven in past the seals of windows and doors. Go outside, and the raindrops sting like pellets. The transformation from snow to rain is due to the warming influence of spring.
    Like mid-20th century USA and USSR, lion and lamb do not coexist peacefully. On the worst of days, they butt heads, and we suffer the aftershock in extreme storms and dashed expectations.
    In the pocket of warmth that is the District of Columbia, a cherry tree or two is blooming, and early flowering camellias are rioting. The yellow flowers of winter jasmine, that forsythia look-alike, have the company of daffodils. A few warm days, and those silly flowers pop open to mimic the sun.
    Here where the winter-cool Chesapeake, now at 42 degrees, keeps temperatures a bit lower, daffodils are six inches tall and buds have swollen their sheaths, yellowing the green. Some crocuses could not postpone the irresistible impulse and have already sprung.
    If we read more in these signs than spring can promise, it’s because we’re tired of winter’s company.
    Sure, as Sandy Anderson writes in this week’s story, some snow would have blanketed winter’s gray days with fun and beauty. In December, January or February, let it fall. Or at least endure it as winter’s due. But snow in March? Get out of here! When meteorological winter is over, we want winter to be over.
    Come on, lamb!
    The spring cheering squad uses all kinds of ploys to trick winter into thinking the game’s over.
    Before winter’s socks have been burned (March 23 at Annapolis Maritime Museum), shorts are exposing bare legs and leggings bare ankles. Even hearty housepainters are out in this middling weather, pretending paint can be fooled — or set — by temperatures in the 40s.
    Landscapers are trimming, mulching and, at one home I passed in the woods behind Deale, building a stone fence.
    Their exposed flesh must be burning from the chill. But if any business doesn’t wait on warmth to prove spring, it’s landscaping. At Greenstreet Gardens in Lothian, Ray Greenstreet is advertising a Hiring Blitz Sunday at noon March 10.
    But with spring still two weeks away, we’re stuck in a tug of war with both winter and spring pulling hard.
    Being stuck in the middle would be easier to bear if our sense of the seasons were not so rigid. Four seasons is not enough to describe the complexities of passing time and weather. Subdividing each of the four into three parts gets us closer to felt truth. In that nomenclature, March is middling.
    Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology lends me another insight into the middling nature of this month.
    His March 7-13 horoscope for Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) quotes Charles Dickens, writing in Great Expectations: “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.”
    Today, the lion is winning.
    Send your subtler names for the seasons — or proof that spring will rise victorious — to [email protected].

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Editor & Publisher, [email protected]