Friday, June 25, 2021

Life & Style

March Can Be the Cruelest Month

The famous poem states that April is the cruelest month. It suggests that with the arrival of warm weather, everything and everyone is forced into action. Cozy winter days alone are replaced by spring days haunted by the memories of things that didn’t last.

I can see the author’s point. However, that doesn’t change my opinion. It’s crueler when it’s cold.

We’ve sprung ahead and the days are longer, the sun stronger than it’s been in ages. And yet it’s 15 degrees out with a wind-chill of three.

I’m prepping to leave the house. Yes, there is major prep involved. The main task is to encase myself in a giant parka I’ve dubbed “Big Blue.” Big Blue is so large and weatherproof I could camp in it. It has a giant hood with fake fur around the perimeter and the body of it goes all the way down to mid-calf. It’s like zipping into a sleeping bag. In it I could be floating on an iceberg for 10 days, subsisting on melted snow and blind faith, and live to tell the tale. Walking from home to downtown in the deep freeze feels like trekking across the Antarctic. I am Shackleton on an exploratory mission in search of a good martini. Will I make it to the end of my expedition alive? Encased in Big Blue I will.

Yes, I sometimes name my clothes. I also have a sweater I call “The Werewolf.” It’s gray and fuzzy and is reaching the end of its wearable life. One more wash and it will look like it has mange. It’s time to give up The Werewolf, but winter still holds us in its frosty claws. How can I toss The Werewolf when there’s yet another ice storm coming?

The nasty New England weather has usually mellowed by March. Not this year. Since we had a mild December through February, we are spoiled and unprepared for an entire brutal winter in the space of one month.

By mid-March it feels like mid-January. I set off for work and by the time I get there I feel like my skull is made of ice. My toes are little frost-bitten cubes that feel as though they might drop off if I touch them. The heat usually works well in my car, but it’s just so cold it can’t work hard enough. It takes the entire commute for my windshield to completely thaw and clear.

At night the stars are bright and lovely, but look as cold as ice chips. The air is so glacial I can taste it on the back of my throat. When I breathe in too fast, I get a sinus freeze that literally hurts. There are sad piles of dirty snow all over that can’t melt because, even though the sun is now gaining strength, the wind is still stronger. Melting isn’t an option.

Finally, the calendar teeters on the precipice between March and April. The equinox has come and gone, but the weather report calls for a “kitchen sink” storm for the last day of March into the first day of April. This means snow, ice, and more frigid temperatures. Still, I don’t give up hope. January juts its ugly frozen face into the domain of spring, and yet I grab up garments and shove them into the back of the closet. Goodbye to Big Blue. Goodbye to The Werewolf. Thanks for your assistance, but I truly hope to see you later rather than sooner.

March is a nasty monster until the bitter end. April may force flowers from the icy earth, disturbing their restful sleep, but for those of us who don’t like to hibernate physically or emotionally, the warm weather is welcome. Bring on the heat. I want to be awakened from my arctic slumber. Nothing is crueler than having to wear Big Blue after changing the clocks.

Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at Read more of her columns at

Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .

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