The Ides of March has always been a phrase that I have loved, without ever really knowing what it meant. In my teens there was a song by Iron Maiden but still it was just a cool instrumental track at the beginning of one of their albums. I’ll come back to this.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere , well along the temperate zone anyway, I am sure you will agree, March is probably the most important month in many ways. It signals the end of winter, sure it can still snow, we can still have a cold snap, but the days are definitely warmer, there is a definite improvement in temperature. And through this, we start to venture outside our homes without a coat, it can even be sunny and warm at times. Although mainly in the middle of the day though, the mornings are still cold!
The trees start to come to life, colour and flowers appearing everywhere, blossom that lifts the spirit with it’s delicate pink and white hanging everywhere. Spring flowers in the grass and flowerbeds, bringing colour to everything after the long grey winter. There is a change in the sheer fabric of the world and everywhere you look there is new life.
And the light. After the winter of short days and no evenings, we are suddenly walking home in the light again again, taking the kids to the park, looking forward to being able to do something outdoors again. Spring officially starts in the third week of the month, and then you know it is only going to get better, then right at the end of the month the clocks go forward, and the winter is done, the days extend into the evenings and bit by bit the trees dress themselves again as the air gets warmer and we all leave winter behind for another another year. This is what March brings for us all.
But back to my theme, ‘the Ides of March’, and a little bit of history thrown in now. The saying comes from Roman Times, where the Ide of March was the midpoint of the month. Apparently they did not count the month in days like us, rather b reference to points in the month. See this link for more details. The midpoint of March was seen as the time for settling debt, hence the phrase, beware the ides… you get the drift. It is also seen as the date that Julius Caesar was killed, having knives thrust into his back by ambitious foes. So you can see the phrase has rather dark overtones, although the sentiment of Man has not changed so much.
There was also a sheep being sacrificed to the god Jupiter, which is definitely a practice I suggest we don’t get back into.
But like us the Romans also celebrated the coming of spring with picnics, drinking and revelry. I think that is a sentiment we can all subscribe to. So take some time to enjoy the changing of the seasons, the abundant colour and growth that we can see all around us. Celebrate the life that the planet has in it and contemplate the positive changes you can make to help the planet through this next cycle, it’s up to all of us now.
And for those down under…. well make the most of the warm weather whilst it lasts, and enjoy the colour of Autumn!