Clare County Review & Marion Press

Pat’s Bits and Pieces: Mad, messy, muddy, marvelous March arrives

I am sitting inside my office – in my sweater with my little heater cooking away to keep my feet warm – watching the snow gently fall out there as February winds down once one more time. Our predicted big ice storm this week has gone a long way towards making “couch potatoes” out of the Maurers, since we haven’t been out of the house since Monday.
With all that ice out there, partially covered with a skiff of snow, it is hard to see it now, but mad, muddy March arrives again next Tuesday. That means, according to the calendar at least, that spring is not far away, although in this part of the country, it always seems to take a lot longer to arrive than it should.
I have to admit that usually never-ending month of February seemed to go by much faster again this year, probably due to the sunny semi-warm temperatures we enjoyed off and on over the past week or two. It’s a little preview of things to come. There’s nothing like some sunshine to lift your spirits. I hope I’m not jinxing us, but we have certainly had an unusually mild winter so far…
With January and February almost behind us again, things around Clare County will begin to gear up. By the middle of the month, it should be loads of fun around Clare.
March 16-20 are the dates set for Clare’s 48th Annual Irish Festival with a parade through town March 19 and the big Irish Festival Craft Show at the Clare Primary School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that same day. As usual, many, many activities are planned all over Clare for the festival. On March 17 right after the Irish Festival Recipe Contest in the High School Cafeteria, the Gateway Community Band will perform at a free concert in the Gym. Some traditional events like the 5K, 10K Road Race/Walk, the Bed Races, and Leprechaun Contest and that Crazy Scottsville Clown Band will be back.
Some new events at the Irish Fest this year will be Food Trucks downtown, warming stations, a Blarney Stone and a stage set up for two parade commentators.
It is a good thing March means spring is on the way, because it certainly is a nasty, messy month. The weather is never predictable with snowstorms one day and melting temperatures and sunshine the next. Add in a little rain, the annual attack of the potholes, chatter bumps and muddy slippery roads and you have defined the month quite well.
According to Wikipedia on the Internet,
“The name of March comes from ancient Rome, when March was the first month of the year and named Martius after Mars, the Roman god of war. In Rome, where the climate is Mediterranean, March is the first month of spring, a logical point for the beginning of the year as well as the start of the military campaign season. January became the first month of the calendar year either in 713 BCE about 450 BCE (Roman writers differ).The numbered year began on March 1 in Russia until the end of the fifteenth century. Great Britain and her colonies continued to use March 25 until 1752, which was when they ultimately adopted the Gregorian calendar. Many other cultures and religions still celebrate the beginning of the New Year in March.”
It may be sloppy, but March still means the beginning of, if not the new year, at least the season of good weather, when everything starts all over again. Many animals end their hibernation and plants begin to come to life again. Sap starts to flow in the trees and, usually by the end of the month, green buds begin to appear everywhere. That’s when the first pussy willows and wild flowers can be sometimes be found in the woods. Most frogs lay their eggs this time of year. Bears, chipmunks, and woodchucks leave their winter sleeping places. Wild geese and ducks begin their northward flights. The tradition of watching for that first robin begins in March, although I have to tell you they have been spotted around town much earlier than that some years.
No matter how muddy and messy, March will always be welcome around here!

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