For me March has always been the cruelest month. Perhaps living in Central Pennsylvania, where March tends to offer one unimaginably dreary day after another, caused my distaste. What little snow we get melts away, replacing the glistening bright whiteness of Midwinter with piles of dirty, blackened slush, cold gray skies, granite barked trees, mushy mud-brown landscapes and bitter, drizzly rain.
Shakespeare warned, “Beware the Ides of March,” a caveat not to be ignored. There have been March afternoons when I would have welcomed a Senates worth of knife wielding murderers over another bleak dawn, nights when Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s yellow wall paper could not have rendered any woman more unbalanced than the monotonous browns had made me, and afternoons when I’ve truly believed that lush green and rudbekia gold were mere machinations of my desperate imagination.
March is not like the other winter months. Signs of life begin to show themselves; the days grow longer, the air marginally warmer, song birds occasionally sing, geese can be heard winging their way back to previously frozen ponds and resilient snow drops burst out of the mucky wet soil, displaying their silver-white petals. And although I cherish each of these measures as they occur, they are not enough to ward off the sense of loss that accompanies them. March is the month from which spring returns. The birthing month. The month of postpartum.