When I found out that Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, I wasn't at all shocked. It's only on rare occasions that this almighty, mind-reading groundhog foresees an early spring.
So as February left us and March arrived, I was reminded of the old saying that we've probably learned as youngsters: "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb."
What exactly does that mean? On March 1, the month started out cold and "vicious" as it roared like a lion with a huge nor'easter. This storm caused heavy snowfall with blizzard-like conditions, icy road conditions, power outages and other winter weather hazards all across the Northeast. That doesn't sound very lamb-like to me.
Well when I was little, my grade-school teachers would always give us kids crafty projects to make during the month of March. These projects would always consist of creating either a lion or a lamb. They were always fun and easy to make, cutting and gluing bits of paper together. I even recall using cotton balls for the lamb's face.
Sometimes we would make lion or lamb masks, and I remember other times we would mark on the calendar what days were like a "lion" and what days were like a "lamb." I just assumed March was synonymous with "lions and lambs," just as December is one and the same with Christmas.
I suppose I was a bit of a naive child growing up. So I never quite understood the meaning until I was a little bit older.
Well, now that I'm older, I do understand the meaning of "March comes in like a lion and out lamb." I had the honor of explaining this meaning to my fiance, Jeremy, one night at my house.
When I asked him if he ever participated in "lions and lambs" month at his school when he was a youngster in Somerset, his reply was, "I think so." Obviously, he didn't.
I began to explain that once the month of March arrives, there are usually a few weeks of terrible weather. These weeks of crappy weather are described as lion-like - you know, the ones that 'ol Phil predicted on Feb. 2 would come true. (I still don't understand how his predictions work, but that's for another column.)
So far, I think Jeremy understood. I'm not sure though, because as I'm explaining, he's washing dishes and I'm shouting over him as he's rinsing them off.
I further explained, or shouted, that the last few weeks of the month of March are usually nice, breezy and very spring-like. These nice weeks of winter can only be described as lamb-like - for their nice qualities, I suppose.
Jeremy said he understood the meaning once I explained it to him. I guess I really didn't really go into all the much detail - I had dishes to compete with. But in my mind, all I could think about was Emma-pie making a lion or lamb at school. How exciting!
With March being such a changeable month where we can see either warm spring-like temperatures or late-season snowstorms, one can only understand how this saying might hold true in some instances.
We can only hope that if March starts off cold and stormy, it will end warm and sunny. The key word is hope, because this saying seems be to more of a rhyme rather than a true weather predictor.
Tara Maguire is a Sentinel reporter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org