Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Ides of March

"Beware the Ides of March" was the soothsayer's warning to Julius Caesar prior to his assassination in 44 B.C., and the saying was apparently ingrained in the English language by William Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar as a warning of impending doom.

According to Wikipedia, "the term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other 8 months" (in the Roman calendar).

In my life, the Ides of March signifies one of the most difficult times of the year. Living in New England, mid-March generally manifests as a blustery and damp time of fickle weather, fluctuating temperatures, chilly winds, and a deep longing for a Spring that is painfully slow to arrive. In the latter portions of March and early April, "mud season" arrives as the ground thaws and fills with the moisture from melting snow and ice. In March, our warmth- and sun-starved faces turn towards the sun whose appearances are still frustratingly brief. Still, with extended Daylight Savings Time and the natural course of solar events, sunset comes later and later, and the return of the light is upon us.

As I so recently opined, March also brings several death anniversaries, as well as the birthdays of a number of deceased loved ones, a potentially unfortunate synchronicity. But perhaps this inward and historically melancholy time is naturally and simply perfect for reflection and grief. One must remember that, on the heels of this most interminable winter, Spring is just around the corner, bringing with it longer days, brighter sun, blooming trees and grasses, and rising temperatures.

I wait with baited breath for those heady days when we can lay on soft earth and grass, soak in the sun, and turn our faces towards that beloved golden orb with relish and joy. Until then, we allow the Ides of March to come and go, looking forward towards the dawning of April and the coming of Spring.

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