Taming the March Hare
Posted by uppervalleygirl
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a heck of a time concentrating, prioritizing, and just generally getting stuff done this month. It’s not that I’m not doing things, I’m just not getting all of them done. I can’t wrap my arms around it.
I’m not blaming it on cabin fever, endless shoveling, Covid fog, menopause, or dementia. I’m blaming it on a world so fraught with troubles that I can’t sleep, which really screws up your mood and cognitive abilities. And blaming it a bit, of course, on the March Hare.
To refresh, as some of you know I’ve written about this leporid before: the expression “mad as a March hare” – “mad” as in British for loony – comes from the bizarre boxing matches, leaps, and chases during the hare’s mating season in March. Other hare facts: they live mostly in the west, cannot interbreed with rabbits with their different number of chromosomes, and are mostly nocturnal – except for in March.
Hares have never actually been domesticated, so the title of this column refers, in part, to doing the impossible. The impossible, in my case, means trying to keep on top of everything, at work and at home, in March. Sometimes it feels for a brief moment as if things are going smoothly, doesn’t it? I call this “the illusion of control” and it is very satisfying indeed when it occurs. “Is everything under control?” I ask people. “For now!” some answer. Take it and run (or box, or leap) with it while it lasts.
This column’s title also refers to navigating the madness — March itself is crazy. Many months can be, but March is reliably so. In like a lion? And sometimes out like one. Perilous mud hazards that freeze overnight into death grooves? Definitely. Feeling serene, as if all is right with the world? Definitely not. Occasional warm-ish days, the school kids in shorts in strong winds? Yepper. The flip-flopping weather makes us nutty. I’m naming this Transitional Confusion. We’re boggled. Well, the first move in taming a problematic situation is just acknowledging that there is one. Then knowing how to let what’s entirely out of your control run free (or box or leap).
March is also the peak of skunk mating season, which is not an astonishing visual event like the hare’s, but an olfactory one. Little fellers are OUT. The woodpeckers are at it, too. That’s a real auditory nuisance when they choose standing seam as their instrument of choice.
Sick of winter, with its brutal holiday winds, soggy muck, and epic snowstorms? I said to my Vermont-born neighbor, “It’s snowing again Tuesday! A heavy, wet snow!” as the plow leaves a wall of cement-grade sludge at the end of our driveway with each pass. My neighbor’s laconic, Vermonty response: “We’ll get there.”
True. That’s calming. But first: mud season! It’s like mourning. There’s no way around it; you just have to go through it. Major seasonal transitions, these, from snow to mud to gorgeous SPRING. Expect confusion.
How to Manage Transitional Confusion and Generalized Weirdness
•If you don’t feel like doing something that badly needs doing, just do something else that also needs doing, but maybe a hare less. Then you’ll feel like a winner, not a loser, even if not the right kind of winner.
•I asked my dentist why my dental floss smelled so bad (no idea why I huffed it…chalk it up to March). She said, “Because you’re scraping off plaque that is fermenting.” It ferments from bacteria. And if that doesn’t get you to floss, I don’t know what will. Cram flossing into your to-do list?
•Go to the movies. So sane-making. The smell of the popcorn, the trailers promising future fun, the snickering with your seatmate, the movie itself on a big screen in a dark theater. Best of all, perhaps, the Shared Experience in a roomful of strangers—some of whom laugh at things you didn’t catch as funny, some eating noisily, some openly bawling at the ending (guilty as charged … of all three). As we isolate in our homes, streaming and watching TV, the Shared Experience with strangers is lost entirely. But when you leave the theater, you feel refreshed somehow by this magical communal outing. For Dear Reader that probably means Randolph, which boasts the oldest cinema in Vermont, or maybe Montpelier, Waitsfield, Barre, or Hanover. Rutland’s remains closed, alas. Grab a friend and go! You won’t regret it.
•Make or see art? Get materials and tools from Brainstorm Art Supplies in Randolph and make something, or just soak up the cool vibe in there. Listen to music. Visit galleries. Cook, before it gets too hot to.
•Go outside, close your eyes, and just listen. You’ll hear crows, jays, geese, insects, weird trillings and whirrings, gruntings, and soon: peepers! Savor the freshness of the chill air.
•Retire sooner at night and read a book – or a feature story in this paper. So you can awaken earlier in top form, fit to endure morning skunk bouquets and Woody Woodpecker’s relentless rattlings.
The word “hare” cries out for a listing of punny salon names, but luckily for Dear Reader I’m out of space. Feel free to submit your favs.
We’ll get there. Good day, and good transition.
Posted in humor, nature, personal, photos, rural, Vermont
Tags: cabin fever, endless winter, march hare, the month of March, winter metal health