Restless as a March Hare!

(c) susansheldonnolen

Waiting for signs of spring

The other day there was a flood of sunshine. How it warmed the body but anxiously stirred the mind! Restless energy filled the air. Ted felt it too. He sat outside in the sun refusing to come inside. He was waiting. We were both waiting for spring. It is too soon for spring. This is only March, Ted.  

March was named after the God Mars, The God of War, and our usage of March derives from the Roman, martius. The Anglo Saxons called the month Hlyd Monath, which means Stormy Month, I prefer that moniker to the month rather than the one dedicated to the God of War. Perhaps the Romans were correct for nature is at war, spring bulbs fight their way up out of the dark soil, the moles shovel up tunnels and mounds, leaving behind little battlefields to trip you up on walks, birds wing their way back, bravely chirping and fighting for the best nest space. Hares are boxing. We are restless. We want to shake the snow and cold from our backs. Sweaters swing restlessly on hangers, time to put me away, they whisper.  But March can fool, March can be tricky, March follows the laws of war, trick your enemy– always keep them guessing.  Even though the days are slowly growing longer, the snow still needs dusting off the Lion in the garden. 

 Cold, Ted and I go inside to let the Lion sleep longer.  We will wait a little longer for spring. What is spring? Is it really the axis of the earth increasing its tilt towards the sun, or is it the spring in our step? The days lengthen, daylight increases, the earth warms, and new grow springs forth. The cherry trees bud out in their delicate pinks and reds, still too small to see their full glory of colour, but the promise is there. That is spring’s secret, it is the season of promise and anticipation. 


The first hint of spring! New buds on the Lilac!

 Spring is seen as a time of renewal, a chance to start again. It is a metaphor for better times. Ted and I are too eager, but we must wait a bit. It’s early and winter coats are still needed, so we dream of the lilacs covering the front window and impatiently wait for spring to arrive.

 It’s not surprising that we get jumpy and feel as Mad as the March Hare.  Hares in their breeding season, which starts in March, and can last until September, gave the man of the middle ages, the beginnings of this saying–Mad as a March Hare. Suddenly hares nibbling grass, ears twitching, always alert to hawks and other predators, become mad boxing hares. They jump vertically as if propelled on sudden springs, they box each other and for no apparent reason. But, there is a solid reason, love is in the air, and all this display is just the hares proving to the young girls– I am the mad hare for you, my darling. See how high I jump!  Females not yet impressed with all this silliness use their forelegs to repel the eager males with a proper one two punch.

Lepus europaeus English: European Hare Deutsch...

The March Hare Image via Wikipedia

But natural mating displays aside, our most famous March Hare must be the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland and as Alice herself says. “The March Hare will be much the most interesting, and perhaps as this is May it won’t be raving mad — at least not so mad as it was in March.”

March hare-550x440

Alice’s March Hare Image via Wikipedia

Let’s let the March Hare has the last say, “Then you should say what you mean,’ the March Hare went on. `I do,’ Alice hastily replied; `at least – at least I mean what I say – that’s the same thing, you know.’”
–  Lewis Carroll   

So we will wait for the lilacs to bloom and leave you with a few hopeful signs of spring…


Some bits and bobs -March Sayings, poetry, and thoughts.

When March blows its horn, your barn will be filled with hay and corn.

As it rains in March so it rains in June.

March Winds and April Showers bring forth may flowers.

When March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb.

So many mists in March, so many frosts in May.

April borrows three days from March and their all ill.

A wet March, a wet Spring.


“March is the month of expectation,
The things we do not know,
The Persons of Prognostication
Are coming now.
We try to sham becoming firmness,
But pompous joy
Betrays us, as his first betrothal
Betrays a boy.”
–  Emily Dickinson, XLVIII


“It is one of the first days of Spring, and I sit once more in the old garden where I hear no faintest echo of the obscene rumbling of London streets which are yet so little away.  Here the only movement I am conscious of is that of the trees shooting forth their first sprays of bright green, and of the tulips expanding the radiant beauty of their flaming globes, and the only sound I hear is the blackbird’s song — the liquid softly gurgling notes that seem to well up spontaneously from an infinite joy, an infinite peace, at the heart of nature and bring a message not from some remote Heaven of the Sky or Future, but the Heaven that is Here, beneath our feet, even beneath the exquisite texture of our own skins, the joy, the peace, at the Heart of the Mystery which is Man.  For man alone can hear the Revelation that lies in the blackbird’s song.
–  Havelock Ellis, Impressions and Comments, 1918 


Garden pots fighting off winter

About susan sheldon nolen

It’s rare to catch me without coffee, a form of camera, or my beloved wire fox terriers. I love the history, the art, and it’s a massive part of my life, as I either paint, write, or get interrupted by my dogs, reminding me of the real world. I hope you enjoy your time here. It’s such a privilege to have readers.
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13 Responses to Restless as a March Hare!

  1. Pseu says:

    I love that picture of the lilac. So wonderfully ‘summer’ and light…. I can almost smell it.

    • Pseu says:

      and yes, we are waiting too for Spring: a little set back yesterday with the blizzard, which didn’t stick, thank goodness!

    • Pseu, that Lilac is amazing. It blooms like mad every year. Last year I lost a limb to it. I worry about it like mad! My grandmother planted it just before war broke out in earnest. Amazing that it has survived so long!

  2. Wonderful picture of the lilacs.I love the whole article. Down under we are having much too much flooding rain but it is still very hot.Hope that you get your spring weather soon.

  3. Susan, beautiful piece. I just love the mad-for-you march hare. The hare is one of my favourite creatures….

  4. Lilacs are among my favorite blooms. Alas, I live too far south to grow them myself, but I know a good florist. Sometimes, she orders them for me.

    Our winter felt like spring this year. I wonder what that bodes for summer….. 🙂

    It is nice to meet you, Susan. I look forward to getting to know you through your writing, and to seeing what you do with Penelope next Friday in Cameron’s Story Circle.

  5. Pingback: Hare Today « Kate Shrewsday

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