My grandmother used to say that the month of March would come “in like a lamb and out like a lion” or, alternatively, come “in like a lion and out like a lamb.”

clements-20181003-lion-and-lambThe idea was that you could predict the end of March — unpredictable, blustery, weird, perverse March — by looking at the weather at the beginning of the month.  If it was cold and dismal when the calendar page turned to March, you could count on a nice end to the month; but if it was warm and pleasant on March 1, March was certain to jump up and bite you in the behind with some crappy, cold, snowy, “oh-no-will-spring-never-get here?” weather come March 31.

This March 1 morning it was a very brisk 22 degrees, with a stiff breeze driving down the wind chill even lower, when I took Betty for a walk.  I’d say by any measure that means that March has come in like a roaring lion, and we can look forward to some warm, meek, lamb-like spring weather in a few weeks.

The lamb/lion issue raises the issue of your choice.  After the traditionally dismal, gray month of February, would you rather get a respite from the gloomy chill with a brief period of warm weather come March 1, knowing that you will inevitably be hammered with some more cold weather in the near future, or would you rather batten down the hatches, deal with the ongoing cold on March 1, and feel warmed by the prospect that spring will be here to stay in short order?

Me, I’m a lion/lamb kind of person, rather than a lamb/lion type.  Of course, that’s assuming that my grandmother was right in her saying.  I feel confident that that is so, because grandmothers are never wrong.

Scents And Sensibilities

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’ve decided to be a rebel and want to try to make it through a day without being overly scented.  That, just this once, you’d like to not carry around the wafting essence of mint on your person, or you’d rather not smell like a slightly overripe holiday fruit basket.

Yeah, good luck with that!

The reality is that in modern America we are being bombarded with scents.  If you’re in a hotel and are using the hotel shampoo and soap, you’re going to be subjected to the fragrance of their choice — and God knows what it might be.  When you go to wash your hands in the bathroom at your office, you’re probably going to have your hands immersed in still more scents.  And in many office buildings and hotels these days there are aromas periodically being  released, automatically, in public areas. 

It’s become a pretty smelly world when you stop and think about it.  We’ve moved far beyond the little plastic container of Glade that your Mom used to keep in the bathroom.

And here’s the additional thing:  it’s not just one scent anymore.  The modern smellmakers aren’t satisfied with, say, plain old sandalwood.  They’re hard at work coming up with new and highly peculiar combinations of smells that leave you guessing about what the actual combined smell actually is.  What, exactly, might “Kitchen Mandarin” smell like?  Does the “Mandarin” refer to a kind of orange, or an ancient Chinese potentate?  And if I squirt the “Vanilla Eucalyptus” foam on my hands, am I going to smell like a Christmas cookie, or a cough drop, or some ghastly scent in between?  And, even more fundamentally, it seems terribly unfair to present people with these puzzling, shot in the dark choices when they are washing their hands and just want to move on with their days.

Can’t we just call a truce on the development of new tinctures, and offer everyone an unscented option?  Would it be possible to go back to soap just smelling like soap?