Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Lambs and Lions of March


March 1st in the old Roman calendar used to be the beginning of the year. When Julius Caesar reformed the calendar and gave that honor to the god Janus and January, finally gave a name to the previously nameless February, when all lay fallow and nothing much was happening, March moved to 3rd place, but retained its character as Mars, the god of War. After the winter, March was the time to resume military campaigns.

But that was a few thousand years ago, when war still wreaked havoc and caused needless death and suffering, but the scale was so small and the stakes so low compared to today. I wouldn’t mind renaming March as Paz, but since that ain’t gonna happen, a little ju-jitsu flip can turn the energy of war toward fighting for justice and vanquishing the enemies within us—Ignorance, Greed, Hate and so on.

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” was the saying from my childhood. Or was it “comes in like a lamb and out like a lion?” Hmm. I think it was both. If it came in one way, it would go out the other. And note—the lion did not lie down with the lamb. That version of The Peacable Kingdom makes for a sweet children’s story, but lions and lambs both need to eat. The vegetarian lamb seems peaceful and the ferocious carnivore lion seems warlike, but both are simply acting according to their need and nature. The warmongers amongst us are not lions, because lions don’t kill their own. And I speak from personal experience, as a pacifist July 28th Leo.

And so March. St. Patrick’s Day awaits and sometimes Easter, Passover or Spring Break. The cherry trees in Golden Gate Park are preparing their bloom, the tulips and daffodils already poking their heads up. I have two more weeks before I’m off and traveling again, this time an Asian Orff tour to Tokyo, Singapore, Bangkok and Manila. But first, classes with the kids, a few local workshops, singing at the Jewish Home, long bike rides, cooking in my own kitchen, playing my own piano and other pleasures of the home life.

Happy March, everyone!

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