|Thanks to EarthSky.org|
One day last winter a large book appeared on my front porch. It was a huge book for star gazers featuring planets, constellations, and guides to the night sky. It even came with a small infrared flashlight to use during those lovely evenings. It did not take me long to find out who I should thank. Mark Wilson brought it over to me knowing how much I loved all of the above, and I do. I also adore the book and keep it handy in my studio for those clear nights when I meander out under the stars.
To be honest (yes, perfectly honest) it is sometimes difficult to meander out under the stars when temps hover at the zero mark. And those of you wondering about those campfires of mine? Wonder no longer. There have been only a couple this winter. The pathway to the campfire has been covered in ice and snow along with the woodpile. (Reminder for next winter: put some wood in the barn/garage!).
March has whistled in with a bit of a snarl. Cold winds will still blow. Snow will fall. March is so fickle…she never decides which dress she will wear to the ball. “Shall it be deep purple velvet with amethyst jewels?” she asks. “Or will it be a gown of aquamarine?” Perhaps she doesn’t even know.
What do we know of March? In ancient times March was the first month of the year according to the Roman calendar. Ahhh, the first month of the year brings on hope, new lambs, new resolutions, and spring. It was also named after Mars, the Roman god of war. However, all of that changed with the assassination of Julius Caesar on the 15th of March. He was stabbed at least 23 times (some sources say over 50!)t in 44 B.C. on that date in history. According to history a seer warned Caesar to watch out for the Ides of March. Too bad for Caesar as he ignored that warning! It was Shakespeare who made us all pay attention to that date in his play, “Julius Caesar,” written in 1599 with his famous words, “Beware the Ides of March.” (On a side note, this site has received the go ahead in Rome and will begin its restoration. This site, Largo di Torre Argentina, will be opened to the public in 2021…the first time ever! Mark your calendars now!)
When the Gregorian calendar came into play, March became the third month of the year instead of the first. March also has a flower which is the daffodil.
Besides all of the above history, March will find me at my campfire leaning back towards the early morning sky or the night sky. Come sit with me.
In the early morning, before the sun of March shines or even gives a glimmer of hope upon our land, our town, our own backyard, Jupiter will make her first appearance shining so brightly you won’t miss her. Set the alarm, take out the early morning coffee, wait for the newspaper to be delivered and make a toast to Jupiter. Soon after Saturn will join her and last of all Venus will make her grand entrance. (She has always been the show off!)
Maybe evenings are your favorites then come on out to the garden with me. Bring your cocoa or tea or the last of the red wine and let’s have a look. Mars is the only evening planet except for a glimpse of Mercury this week. But you must look quickly as she is fleeting!
The full moon will join us on Wednesday, March 20th, the first day of spring. Her once-upon-a-time name of Worm Moon is apt as the rains begin to fall and creatures large and small come out of hiding back into our world.
March is here. And I, a lover of winter, am happy to see her. I can practically smell the sheets hanging on the clothesline. I know the birds will begin their morning serenade. I, too, will watch these skies from my garden. I will beware on the 15th, stand in awe on the 20th, and share my evening with anyone who saunters over to my garden.
This week’s poet is Walter De la Mare.
Look thy last on all things lovely,
Every hour. Let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber.
Hello March, month of great beauty, great change, and great stories.
So my dear March, won’t you have this dance with me?
*First published in KPC.