Weekly Feature

2015-02-26 / Editorial

Here’s hoping March comes in like a lamb

Managing Editor

The month of March had better break with tradition and arrive like a lamb, not a lion, next week.

The mountains of snow and unforgiving cold temperatures here make it difficult to believe that spring begins in three weeks and that the Chicago Cubs will play the St. Louis Cardinals in Major League Baseball’s opening game on the evening of April 5.

Most lawns here are covered with a base level of ice, topped by more than a couple of feet of fluffy snow. Even persistent sunshine has little effect on our icecap when the temperature hovers in the low single digits.

As for animal references to the start of the third month of the year, “This saying seems to be more of a rhyme rather than a true weather predictor,” according to Sandi Duncan, managing editor of the Farmers’ Almanac.

“While many sayings are based on careful observations and turn out to be accurate, others are merely rhymes or beliefs of the people who came before us,” she states on the publication’s website. “We can only hope that if March starts off cold and stormy it will end warm and sunny, but the key word is hope.”

Another version comes from the international newspaper The Guardian.

“At the start of March, the constellation Leo (the lion) is on the eastern horizon at sunset. By the end of the month, Aries (the ram) is on the western horizon. It’s an ingenious explanation, but fails to account for the saying occurring specifically in weather folklore.”

I really don’t care to see the king of the jungle next Sunday morning for any reason.

According to the Almanac, some other March-related sayings include the following: “A dry March and a wet May? Fill barns and bays with corn and hay.” “As it rains in March so it rains in June.” “March winds and April showers? Bring forth May flowers.”

The point to having March on the brain is that we are all tired of sinus headaches, salt stains on our clothes and the monochromatic scene that awaits us each morning. As the sunrise takes place earlier each day, so should the snow give way to warmer temperatures and traces of green grass. We will take anything – even folklore – to help convince ourselves that the weather is beginning to be more tolerable.

A look at the current forecast tells us that won’t take place for at least the next seven days.

Unrelenting winters surely had something to do with the creation of hockey. One of my old high school teachers, who hailed from the sport’s home and native land, said an outdoor temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit created the ideal conditions for playing the game. He said you could get by with wearing just one sweater. With that chilly philosophy, he must have been quite a speedy skater.

The novelty of this current winter has worn off. There have been several days when it was simply too cold to skate outside at Canalside, and even Delta Sonic shut its doors to carwash patrons. Niagara Falls is nearly frozen solid, giving TV crews a reason to pay us a visit.

School administrators are feeling the heat as well, with the prospect of taking back vacation days from the spring break stockpile a real possibility. That’s a sure way to get even youthful snowboarders angry at Mother Nature.

But take heart, Syracuse made the Farmers’ Almanac “10 Worst” list in 2002.

“December, January, and February are typically gloomy, with Syracuse receiving only one-third of the sunshine possible because of considerable cloud cover,” editors stated.

It really seems like this winter will never end. Whenever the snow and ice do melt, flooding will surely follow. Yet we’re not in this alone. Most of the Northeast is suffering alongside us.

But if I see a lion strolling up my driveway on March 1, look out.

(David F. Sherman is managing editor of Bee Group Newspapers and a columnist for the Weekly Independent Newspapers of Western New York, a group of community newspapers with a combined circulation of 286,500 readers. Opinions expressed here are those of the author. He can be reached at dsherman@beenews.com.)

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