WEEK 9: March hare

There is undoubtedly a madness that comes with spring. What begins as the first stubborn (though frozen) walk to work without snowboots and mittens, erupts into a frenzy of rug-shaking, shorts-wearing, car-stereo-blasting with the windows rolled down when it’s still absurdly cold outside, and making plans to go camping EVERY WEEKEND THIS SUMMER.

“Needless to say,” writes Mikhail Ivanov in his book, Survival Russian, “spring is associated [in the former Soviet Union] with love and good moods. When men fall prey to this mood, they are как кот мартовский (like a March cat).”

An almost-equivalent in English—the March hare—is a similarly unpredictable creature whose bizarre behavior can be observed at the beginning of the breeding season (in March, duh). An early written record of this metaphor can be seen in the poem Blowbol’s Test (c. 1500) in which the original poet wrote:

Thanne þey begyn to swere and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare
{Then they begin to swerve and to stare, And be as brainless as a March hare}

And then there’s this: the March hair.
Every year, beginning on January 1, and lasting through March 17, Sam grows this furry beast with the goal of shaving it into a donegal—the beard of choice among both leprechauns and Abraham Lincoln.

Spring at last, spring at last…hallelujah, it’s spring at last.


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