I’ve never been a fan of March.
March is supposedly spring, but we all know it’s not. In much of the country, more snow falls in March than any other month. But it doesn’t have the courtesy to stay. March snow falls, makes us shovel it, then turns into a sloppy mess in three days. It becomes slush, mixed with mud. The sky stays gray. And all the . . . things (you know what I mean), things that were buried in previous snowfalls . . . all those things come to light. Whatever they were, they are never better for having spent a few months under the snow. I don’t need to describe them. You know what I’m talking about.
March is filled with disappointment. Too early for things to bloom, too late for a frosty day, March is a party that is never going to happen, an event canceled in advance. I am an optimistic person by nature, but March always gets me down.
It seems nonsensical, but autumn is a more cheerful season. Things are dying, but they do it so colorfully! The air is crisp and there will be celebrations and bonfires and new sweaters to wear.
What do you wear in March? Something you don’t mind getting muddy, that is my advice. You might as well wear those pants you plan on tossing out as soon as it is warm enough. Wear them with the boots that already have a hole in the toe. Your feet will get wet anyway. There is nothing you can do. It’s March.
I realize this is not turning into an uplifting column. I do not feel inspired by March; it is true.
But maybe that is because March is when big changes start to happen, and big changes are often not pretty.
Starting a new habit, ending a bad one, getting rid of something that is not working and replacing it with something that works better—none of these things are pretty. Change is messy and fraught with mistakes, and it doesn’t look or feel easy or glamorous. June is easy and glamorous. March is clumsy and embarrassing and lonely and dull.
Maybe that’s why we need it.
Because change is necessary. The trees need it, and insects need it, and people need it most of all. We need to slough off the old stuff that isn’t doing us any good anymore, and we need to awkwardly embrace the new stuff we want to become a part of our life. And we can’t do that without some mud and some melting and some unpleasant discoveries under the snow.
I was thinking about butterflies recently, how they start out as caterpillars and emerge with brand new, beautiful wet wings. Then they take off and fly to another continent like they know exactly what they are doing—because they do. I admire everything about that. I admire their beauty, and assurance, and their ability to transform themselves.
But my sister-in-law, Lori, recently reminded me of something that I either didn’t know or had forgotten.
“When they are in the chrysalis, they dissolve,” she told me. “Their entire body turns to mush! If you open the chrysalis too soon, they never get wings.”
I realized I’ve been admiring butterflies for all the wrong reasons.
I’ve been admiring those beautiful wings, after all the work is finished. I never stopped to think how it would feel to be mush inside a dark cocoon, making a change that will transform a worm into a magical creature.
Now I’m thinking, maybe that is what March is for.
Till next time,
Carrie Classon’s memoir is called, “Blue Yarn.” Learn more at CarrieClasson.com.