- Old proverbs and sayings are rarely examined for truth. Most of them, examined logically, are incomprehensibly wrong. “Darkest right before dawn”, “a penny saved”, “what doesn’t kill you”, and, possibly the worst: “things work out for the best.” But right up there is “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Around here, March does what it darn well pleases, any given hour, day or week. It is possibly the most fickle month of the year, and generally shows no progression to mildness.
- Possibly for that reason, it seems such old sayings are dying out with my generation. Newer and more applicable memes _ some just as insanely wrong, of course _ are coined daily from rap music and media sound-bites. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard people except those my age quoting an old proverb, or applying a nursery rhyme to a situation.
- To be sure, that is not much of a loss, although it represents just one more part of a once tightly-knit common culture fraying rapidly. Undoubtedly a new binding of attitudes is taking its place among the young, but that is hardly comforting to those of us who feel more and more cut off from our roots. I still think of March lions, and April showers, and merry May, and feel mild regret that my children don’t have the faintest idea what I am talking about.
- As an occasional day turns warmer, sun begins to burn pale skin, and light extends into the evening, the quest for signs of spring and coming seasons becomes almost obsessive. New garlic clumps are glowing green, after all, and early bulbs like crocuses can burst forth from improbable locations. Brambles and other vines are ready to green and fuzz with opening leaves. Birds frolic and couple and once in a while there is even a poor misdirected insect wandering about.
- I pursue in an extreme up and down pattern. Days filled with indications of astonishingly rapid vitality are followed by a week of cold grey stasis. I’m grateful for the first swatches of color, but too quickly search for more. I keep confusing this last month of winter with the first post-solstice months of spring, which have their own issues confounding my expectations. I need to slow down, more than ever, and just enjoy the moments as they occur for what they are, never for what I hope and imagine they might become.
- Maybe it’s just my age, but lately tempus seems to fugiting much too quickly.
- This year, winter appears to be leaving before it truly arrived.
- Boomers grew up into an American-dominated world. Most of us thought it would always be that way, and that we would end up in the fifties-type society inhabited by our parents, without having to endure a depression or world war (unless WWIII killed us all.)
- Lower middle class kids expected decent stable jobs with ongoing raises and more and more consumer products, a nice house in the suburbs, new cars every few years. Upper middle class kids were indoctrinated as the best and the brightest, the glowing hopes of the world, stuffed with history and culture and science in the hopes of producing perfect little humans leading the way into a utopian millennium.
- We tried to know an awful lot about the past. That didn’t help us survive adulthood or get a good job.
- So modern students concentrate on networking, the immediate, the here and now, never mind all that ancient boring garbage. Morality is what fits today. Survival is what happens in the next week. Perhaps they are right.
- I survey the world and am worried. Well, that’s been the role of seniors since at least the dawn of agricultural civilization, when people could grow old. My complaints mean as little as those of any other geezers in the last few thousand years. For better or worse, it’s up to the kids now. If only the ancient crones who desperately clutch powerful jobs would die or retire and get out of the way.
- Around now each year the willows begin to bud, fluffy and white, some peeking out timidly, some boldly bursting into display no matter what the temperature. Grass which has browned and died back under layers of snow shows blushes of green. There seems to be a (sometimes imaginary) haze of emerald or scarlet surrounding briar patches. And already there has been at least one crocus open, while daffodils thrust restlessly with swollen buds.
- Often in early March these first signs of breaking winter are welcome and almost incongruent to the hostile environment. This year has been one of thaw and heat wave, worrisome if you are concerned about planetary warming, otherwise locally welcome. At the moment, I am more concerned that exposure can be shattered by some still-possible event. Deep freeze can destroy flowers and leaves, trees with buds swelling are increasingly vulnerable to heavy wet snow. But _ hey, I’m just a passenger _ so I watch and enjoy and marvel and am grateful for being able to wander freely outside as many hours as I desire.
Sun beams proudly among his peers. “Look what my clever local intelligence has accomplished,” he boasts to friend star Trapp. “They’ve discovered all your planets already. What are yourlifeforms doing?”
“Still slime and acids, I’m afraid,” responds Trapp timidly. “Haven’t had as much time as yours, you know.”
“Don’t let him bully you,” chimes in Epsili. “Water-based intelligence is a transitory phenomenon, hardly worth noticing anywhere. How long have your creatures been clever, Sun, if you can even call them that?”
“Well, they can trace their lineage back billions …” Sun hesitates.
“None of that now,” thunders Sirius. “The actual creatures, the ones who supposedly found Trapp’s stuff.”
“At least a million planetary year cycles …”
“Yeah, yeah,” taunts Epsili. “But how long with tools and social organization to actually look up and think about things?”
“A few tens of thousands ..”
“And with capability to look at Trapp and his planets?”
“Depends. Maybe ten thousand, maybe a few hundred, I don’t know. But they are clever now!” shouts Sun defiantly.
“Flash in the pan. I’m willing to bet my Jovian giant that they’ve completely vanished in less than a century.”
Unfortunately, there are no takers.
Social storms spew strife
Anger encases weep
Each morn worse than ever
Nature spins bright life
Always calm and deep
Sustaining genes’ endeavor
I know there’s no forever
Escaping mortal knife
But these times trouble sleep