|La Belle Jardiniere--Mars by Eugène Grasset, 1896|
Granted, ranking the best and worst months of the year is a highly subjective task, varying according to one's region and one's preference for hot or cold weather. But for those who dislike winter and live in the Mid-Atlantic United States, surely there can be no worse month than March. The earlier winter months are easier to get through--January begins with lingering holiday cheer and optimism for the New Year, and February is a short month where temperatures begin to thaw and spring seems like it ought to be coming any day now. Then comes March, bringing winter back with a vengeance right when you're ready for spring. When you're weary from weeks of cold and snow (and, in recent years, lulled into a false sense of security by February's mildness), it makes you slog through even more of it.
There aren't even many good holidays in March. If you're old-fashioned like I am, you can extend Christmas celebrations through mid-January with New Year's Day, Twelfth Night, Epiphany, and Hilarymas. Then after a few weeks, Valentine's Day brightens things up again with its warm displays of pink and red hearts and roses. The abundance of chocolate doesn't hurt one's mood in February, either.
However, March's holidays do little to temper its miserable weather. Despite having Irish heritage, I'm not very excited by St. Patrick's Day, since celebrations center around parades and drinking and I'm a teetotal homebody. Easter occurs more often in April than in March, and even when it does fall in the last week or so of this month it feels lackluster. The springy flowers and pastels we associate with Easter look decidedly out of place against a backdrop of grey skies and rain, or worse, snow. I've yet to experience a March Easter where a pretty spring dress and straw hat were more appropriate for the weather than a wool coat and boots.
Which brings me to my main gripe with March: it's neither here nor there, neither wholly winter nor quite yet spring. We can't leave winter weather, winter clothes, and the winter blues behind try as we might to counter them with all the colorful trappings of the new season. It's a month of waiting, of biding one's time--a month to simply get through.
And after this cold, snowy, and stormy March, I'm glad we're almost through it.