Yesterday, the day was so drippy, the road so wet, and the snow so hard packed and dirty that Clif remarked, “Are we going to have two months of March?”
This statement made me catch my breath. For a Mainer, there could be no greater horror than having two months of March, the dreariest, longest, most miserable month of the year. It is the month where we become restless and cranky, and even those of us who love Maine desperately wish we were some place else, where spring was showing its pretty face, where flowers and leaves were beginning to bud, where the air was soft and warm. (Who, oh who, decided that town meeting should be in March? The sour mood makes Mainers quarrelsome, and the meeting stretches for hours and hours.)
Instead, we have our March, a month of endurance. Gone are the brilliant days of January and February, punctuated by soft snow. (All right. I will admit that last year there was a little too much snowy punctuation, an exclamation mark rather than a comma or a period.) In March, the snow melts in fits and starts, and this melting brings something all Mainers have come to dread—mud.
I’m not talking about a bit of mud that clings to the bottom of shoes and can be stamped off when it’s dry. I’m talking about mud so thick that a small boy could get stuck and need some help getting out.
Indeed, such a thing happened one March. I was walking the dog, and I noticed a small boy—Joseph—struggling in the mud in his driveway. One of his boots was stuck solid and would not budge, no matter how hard he pulled his leg.
Naturally, the dog and I went over to help. By then Joseph had yanked his foot out of the boot, and his little stockinged foot gingerly touched the cold ground.
I tugged on the boot with one hand—the other was holding the dog—but the boot remained stuck.
“Could you hold the dog?” I asked. Joseph looked doubtfully at me and the dog. He was, after all, just a little boy.
“I need both hands,” I said, and Joseph nodded, taking the leash. Liam loves children, and he stayed perfectly still as Joseph held him.
With both hands, I gripped the little boot and pulled and pulled. With a loud glucking sound, the mud released the boot, and I triumphantly handed it to Joseph, who in turn gave me the leash and put on his errant boot.
“There!” I said, but I could not resist adding in my best adult voice, “Don’t play in the mud.”
But Joseph didn’t hear the admonishment. He was running toward the house, away from the sucking mud that had taken over his driveway.
And who could blame him? It had been a close call with the battle of the boot and the mud.
So it is no surprise that Clif’s gloomy remark about two Marches filled both of us with dread.
However, overnight, the snow came, and this morning, when I woke up and looked out the window, February was back. How glad I was to see it.
And with any luck, the March-like weather will stay away for a month or so. One Maine March is definitely enough.