March to Your Own Drummer

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As a child you may have made wooly lambs and snarling lions to

represent the calm way we wish to exit the month of March and

the wild, windy month we usually start with. I remember using

a large paper plate and cutting out eyes and gluing cotton balls

all over the plate for a lamb. I also remember having made a form

for my preschool students, the shape of a lamb out of brown or

tan construction paper. They loved using the glue and adding the

cotton balls that ultimately got stuck to their fingers, clothes and

everywhere except where they ‘belonged.’

Making lambs and lions with children, as an artistic endeavor,

spurs my desire to share Vincent Van Gogh’s thought:

“Great things do not just happen by impulse but as a succession

of small things linked together.”

Did you know Vincent Van Gogh lived a short and productive

life of only 37 years? He shared and created beauty through his

post- Impressionistic paintbrush strokes. You may wish to check

out this trio of sweet Spring flowering paintings. Van Gogh did

these in his final three years of his short life.

1.  “Cherry Tree,” (1888).

2.  “View of Arles, Flowering Orchards, (1889).

3.  “Almond Blossoms, (1890).

Hope this may inspire you to dabble with paint, chalk, crayons

or start a craft project.

Let’s hope the month starts as a roaring Lion and leaves as a

peaceful Lamb.

Here is a word from Thomas Kinkade, (2001):

“Prayer or simple meditation will nurture your spiritual connection

vital to evolving a focus that is truly personal and intrinsic to

your life.”

MARCH

Gemstone: Aquamarine

Flower: Jonquils

March 1st-

Sunday of Orthodoxy.

There is a complicated explanation about the meaning of this Sunday.

It meant that there was a movement or change among some faiths,

where icons or representations of various important elements could

be produced. This was in the 700’s, Jesus Christ and Mother Mary,

for examples could be depicted through artwork. This is considered

the first Sunday of Lent, 2015.

2nd-

Texas Independence Day.

Would it qualify for celebrating if I had some chocolate Texas sheet cake?

3rd- Town Meeting Day

Vermont likes to have their town meetings.

4- (Sundown) Purim begins. This lasts two days and ends on March

6th. This Jewish holiday celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish

people into the Persian Empire, saving them from a plot to kill

them. This day is one which includes feasting and rejoicing.

5-

Full Worm Moon-

“Add compost to your soil to invite beneficial earthworms into your

garden.”

(2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.)

To make compost, we used to use the parings of our potatoes, fruits

and vegetables. These days, you consume so much of these, so scraps

of the rinds, stems and inedible parts of your food can be put into a

raised garden. You can till it from time to time, creating a rich place

for worms to thrive.

8- Daylight Savings Time (2:00 a.m.)

“Spring ahead. Fall behind.” This little saying helps me remember

the direction of setting my clocks each Spring and Autumn.

I think many of us will be joyous once the season gets warmer. I

hope this will be a season of renewal and ignite new passions and

interests.

“As we turn the pages of time,

we discover hidden mysteries

and triumphs in each chapter.”

(Flavia, 2003).

9- Commonwealth Day in Canada.

Friday the 13th- 2nd one ‘down,’ only one more to go this year.

This is not a big deal to most, except the superstitious ones.

15- Andrew Jackson Day (Tennessee)

17- Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“Place stems of fresh white carnations into water with green food

coloring to dye the flowers green.” (2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac.”)

Do you pinch people who don’t wear green today?

Did you know the Episcopalians usually wear orange today?

Also, on the 17th- Evacuation Day (Suffolk Co., Mass.)

19- St. Joseph’s Day

“If it’s on St. Joseph’s Day clear,

So follows a fertile year.”

(Country  saying or Folklore)

20- New Moon

Vernal Equinox

Spring Begins.

“The fiddlehead, which looks like the tuning end of a fiddle

is the top of a young ostrich fern, tightly curled and sheathed

in a brown coating.”

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” uses ferns in March’s report.

29- Palm Sunday

Most palm trees require year-round temperatures above 40 degrees

outdoors.

30- Seward’s Day (Alaska)

Shall we have a slice of Baked Alaska, in your honor?

2015’s “Old Farmer’s Almanac” mentions a plant that is native to

Alaska and Canada,

“Tall Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium acutiflorum) tolerates drought

and creates a ground cover, commonly with blue flowers.”

Words to Live By:

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable

combination.”

~Nelson Mandela

The Smithsonian Backyard series of books came with a

sweet stuffed bird. When I received this gift, my book’s

subject was inevitably about a robin, along with my toy

being a robin.

This book begins with a lovely Spring message and ends

with a helpful glossary of words and description of the

habits of each bird in the series.

“Robin at Hickory Street,” (1995) was written by Dana

Meachen Rau and illustrated by Joel Snyder. Read this

and it will give you a beautiful picture of the changing

of the seasons in nature.

“Winter’s song fills the backyard of the blue stone house

on Hickory Street. A honeysuckle branch taps a beat on

the kitchen window.  Wind whistles through swaying

spruces. Rhythmic drips of melting ice dot the snow.

Soon this chorus will be replaced by Spring’s. The sweet

murmur of honey bees, the rustling of chipmunks behind

the shed and the cheerful melody of a robin who will call

this yard his own.”

The book is 32 pages and in the description of the robin’s

song, it is given as: “Cheerily, cheer-up, cheerio.”

And on that note. . .

“Cheerio!”

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26 responses »

    • I am wishing for warmer days, too. Although, sunny days improve my mood, also. Hope you get many days over 32 degrees this month… glad you found the Baked Alaska dessert suggestion in celebration of Seward’ Day. ha ha!

  1. Hello Robin! Have you read “Leaving Van Gogh?” Such a lovely book and I learned so much about him and his brother, Theo, from it. Also, speaking of lambs…..it’s the Chinese Year of the Sheep, right? Surely that has to be a good sign.

    • This is truly a great sign and wish I had remembered this one, Barb. So thankful for those who help me get by with a little help from my friends. Have we settled the small controversy of whether it will be a ram or a sheep? (It is funny to me, since aren’t they both sheep? Or was it a goat…?)
      Did you see how bumblebees are “murmuring” from the little book with Spring’s awakening? Soon we will have them buzzing.
      I will have to check this book out, since I just completed “House Girl,” by Tara Conklin. Every other chapter is about a young woman in our time, named Carolina or “Lina,” who is a lawyer working on a reparations bill for families who are descendants of slaves. The other chapters are engrossing and filled with the life of Josephina, a house maid in the times of slavery. Her ‘owner’ the mistress of the house, paints. She took ‘credit’ for art pieces actually painted by Josephina. This is another intriguing plot which both story lines have some overlapping themes. It was a great historical fiction book! Thanks again, Barb, for the idea of reading, “Leaving Van Gogh.”
      Have a fantastic weekend, Barb!

      • I am adding this book IMMEDIATELY to my list, Robin. Thank you, exactly the time period and subject matter that is a current obsession. When I will get to it is another matter entirely, but at least I’ll have it on my list. Thanks again and hope your weekend is a great one too.

      • You will really love it, I read it so quickly and am very satisfied with the ending, too. Barb, it is on the New York Bestseller list, but must let you know my Mom bought it because it is part of the Target (store or company) reading circle book. She saw it on a table and knew how I would like it. I would send if off to you or hand it over to you, to keep. It is truly one you will enjoy, Barb.

    • Thank you, Hollis for enjoying the quote. It seems a little bit more positive than I would picture him, though. I think I focus on his gloomy moods from his cutting off his ear and now, should try to readjust my thoughts on him. He definitely portrayed joy on his canvases, I should imagine him happy. Somewhere I left you a note about trying to connect with you, Hollis. I just feel bad since I don’t do FB or other connections than wordpress and Linked In. I could not leave a comment upon what I viewed of your lovely studio or projects displayed there. I feel you are making progress in the area of your passion, Hollis! You go, girl!

    • I know, I don’t like to think of the time passing. 1/2 day Kindergarten is such a big step and far too soon…
      I spent a day this week for over 6 hours, putting pictures in each of the 6 grandkids’ albums. I like to do hand-sized ones, usually 36 to 60 pictures. They are neatly stacked in a corner, so they can look at them. Once, not too long ago, my oldest grandson, Skyler asked me to ‘show him pictures of when he was held and hugged a lot.’ I know my oldest daughter hugs on him and loves him dearly, but he was feeling like school and bass cello lessons, with Cub Scouts was overwhelming him. I remember when I was younger racing around with my kids, sometimes forgetting to say or do the warm things that we do while they are tiny. I gave him his four of five baby albums from my piles, one of my favorite, when I was about 40 pounds heavier, we are rolling around in a stack of ‘clean’ and dry Autumn leaves around his first birthday. It brought me to tears, he is always going to be my #1 (first) grandchild…. Hugs, Robin

      • 🙂
        I still insist on giving hugs and kisses to my guys… in the 30’s.
        We tend sometimes to want too much for our children and don’t give them enough space to breath. I attempted to limit activities to one sport a season. I knew of parents who let their children do multiple sports and then made the child choose which one when the two conflicted. Not fair, to the child or the team.

        I hope your grandson speaks up and gets some relief. They really don’t have to do everything that we couldn’t do when we were children. I couldn’t do much being out of the school bus drop off area for extra activities. And both of my parents worked.

      • I went over to drop off a box of the Samoa Girl Scout cookies, bought from my landlord’s granddaughter. Skyler was playing the bass cello and I must say he was doing a fine job. I told him he might wish to stay in band, changing someday in the future to an easier instrument to haul around with. We are suggesting he may wish to discontinue scouting, once he gets to middle school. My daughter and my grandfather both played violas and violins. Carrie was a juggler in sports (track and cross country), band, theater and photo club. She ended up quitting sports in her junior year of high school. We are kind of this busy family where I did so much that I encouraged my kids to do this,too. I agree, more hugs and less pressure! She needed me to remind her of this,in a whisper…. smiles!
        Next weekend, two birthday celebrations, Micah turned 6 and Makyah turned 4. Micah is my daughter’s and Kyah is my son’s. I bought some craft kits because these two love to do art, Jules!

  2. Interesting that you mention St. Joseph’s Day. This is an big deal with the Catholics, especially my wife’s family. It has always been a feasting day in Sicily where her ancestors are from. In our travels we learned that St. Joseph’s Day is also celebrated in other largely-Catholic countries like Croatia and Panama.

    Joseph, Jesus’ Earthly father, is the patron saint of laborers. Considering all the Italian immigrants who came to the U.S. during the 19th century to find work and make a new life, it is not hard to see why so many Italian Americans still lay out traditional tables of food on March 19th for family gatherings, something my in-law relatives still do. – Mike

    • I am so thankful for your additional information about St. Joseph, Mike! I really like how people help me out with the holidays and memorable historical events, which I may not have taken the time to really understand. I am glad you also mentioned the largely Catholic countries, too. I need to add Croatia and Panama to my tags, since the connections may bring someone who appreciates my remembering to place this important date on the March calendar! Hugs, Robin
      I would love to be invited to this kind of feast and will try to remember to ask my Filipino friends if they also celebrate in such a lively and delicious way.

    • Oh, thanks Jill! Now I remember we used to always make kites to put around the classroom, hanging them from bent paper clips tied to strings. The paper clips could be inserted into the ceiling squares, which you could push upwards. They were colorful ones, we would spread a few sprinkles of water and then the kids would paint stripes or dots which would spread the multiple colors on the tagboard. We would also have them use yarn and have them make the ‘tails’ by gluing little ‘bows’ on the yarn. (Or my teacher assistant and I would tie fabric scraps and ‘finish’ their projects up for them.)
      Windy March may have created that post I wrote about the song, “Windy,” Jill. I wrote a weather post which was so fun last year, at some time or another.
      Your final comment is indeed comforting. I like how you put it, too! Have a great weekend, Jill (and Derek)!

  3. i love the van gogh quote so much! i had no idea his life was so short, but i do know it was a troubled one. thanks for your monthly update! here’s to spring!

    • Thanks, Beth, for loving this quote. I almost could not believe Van Gogh said these uplifting words… He must have had some positive days, since I picture him all gloomy and depressed. I like how you describe his life as ‘troubled.’ This quote helped readjust my image of Van Gogh. Beth, I love his sunflowers, his lily pads and the beauty in the Cherry Blossoms’ painting, too.

    • I am glad you reminded me of what season you entering into now, Pauline. I hope you will get a touch of our early Spring weather, too.You will be warmer than we are for quite some time then. I am excited about your art and how it reflects the joy in nature. It will have some new influences, due to the weather changes, maybe. . . I need to check in on your posts!

  4. It’s Lent, so I am thinking of many of the things you shared here Robin. It is such a light and comforting and Springy post. I love March. I picture children from all the 1920’s books I inherited, with their hair and clothing blowing before them in the wind. Very British, to my mind when I was young. I still like to be reminded. George Gershwin died at the age of 38. Imagine if he and Van Gogh had lived to old age. Treasures lost.

    • You captured this essence of people’s shortened lives so well, Beth. Thank you for adding Gershwin to the list of famous people who did not live as long as we would have liked them to. Those words are so sweet about the impact of their passing far too soon, ‘treasures lost.’
      I was mentioning about the number of songs (a few posts back) I had listened to from Otis Redding, did not realize how short his life was, Beth. He died in an airplane crash. While he sings, (“Sittin’) On the Dock of the Bay” his voice sounds like he is older than he really was…

      I was one where our Episcopalian family tended to follow rather closely the Catholics in our celebration of Lent. While a child, we would get ‘fish’ boxes, where we would put our change into and turn them in on Palm Sunday. Giving to charities, can be like this childhood memory so I add to the Hunger Alliance or other Spring fundraisers, locally at the cash registers.

      We were asked each Lent, what we would ‘give up’ and usually I gave up candy (or a food item), but as I got older it was more like ‘television’ or spending more time on ‘serious’ subjects. I feel meditating about my ‘Walk’ during Lent, makes me feel closer to all parts of nature and humanity, too. I felt this peaceful pondering in your comment and appreciated your warm compliments, too.
      I liked your childhood memories of the children in books during Spring, ones that may have come from anthologies like Garden of Verses. Beth, I do feel I associate the wind, blustery weather to the Brits, which they even were joking on the Red Carpet, “We brought rain to California.” They seem to be used to carrying umbrellas.
      Hope your March is a fantastic one, Beth!

  5. Van Gogh’s art also showed the trajectory of his mental health. A very diverse and excellent painter. His quote is inspirational. It’s never to late to begin something you love … writing, painting, music, etc. Thank you for sharing, Robin. 😉

    • Thank you for explaining more about Van Gogh. I really must read some current books about him, also help to supplement my paltry memory of Art History from the ancient 74-78 years of college, Judy.

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