Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Ides of March



Apparently, before Julius Caesar was slain, March 15th was just an ordinary day, sometimes mid month being the time that debts came due. Before our current calendar, the 'ides' just meant the middle.

I'm not normally a superstitious person, but there have been some rather harrowing Ides of March(es). The most memorable was a freak late snowstorm that churned itself into a blizzard as the mercury plunged below zero. That Saturday night, snuggled into our cozy cabin with city friends visiting, we had no idea two drunken snowmobilers were racing past our driveway. One of them plowed into our visiting friend's car in the blinding snowstorm. We took turns staying with the body until the Mounties arrived. Since that night, I've never felt a wind that brutal. I began to not take March for granted.

My morning epiphany let me in on a secret about mid-March. Each year, when the sap starts rising, I come unhinged for a couple weeks. I only noticed because it eased off today with this nice skiff of new snow. All my thoughts get let out of their cages or leave their comfy contrails and mix it up. For two weeks I have shit for brains. It is impossible to focus on the simplest most elementary motion. I have to walk myself through brushing my teeth.

I binge read, which is the only thing, other than anesthetic, or driving too fast, that helps. At work, it feels like bees buzzing inside my noggin. My 'hard drive' freezes up and there's no restart button. Simple tasks like answering email or making a list become impossible and I lose whole hours in a stoned haze. It feels like witnessing a bar fight but muted as though my head was stuffed with novocaine soaked cotton.

Lucky for me, I have perfected the look of normalcy even when I'm having a stellar meltdown. Now that I'm through it for another year, I can look back at the past two weeks with (almost) nostalgia. And, I've never been able to get any sympathy when I moan about my discomfort. Friends nod and murmer the right words, but really they think, how bad could it be? One friend even said, "I think you're exaggerating".

Even if I'm miffed at the time, they actually help me keep the 'crazies' compartmentalized. Now that I'm working on a novel, I see that I'm eventually going to make money off this drama that roils in my thought bubble 24/7 but only gets revved up during the sap rising, Ides of March. I decided those conversations and characters are all just scrambling around in there trying to get out. No problem dudes. You'll get your own page one day.

It's great in a way. My friends have always helped me to not compound the interest by wallowing. Because I look so good doing it, my angst doesn't register on the Richter scale for me or my friends. I mean, how bad could it be?

I only know that when the storm passes for another year, I feel so good it should be illegal!!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love it, J! and you're getting realllyyyy fast, too. excellent stories, such fun reads. thanks! I think I need grazing lessons, not to mention a J-course in appreciating life here in the northern Rockies! hey, watch out, though, don't make living here sound TOO good, ok? don't want the area to explode, right? congratulations on your wonderful blog!
your buddy in technopeasant land
Maggie

funforager said...

Anonymous,
Thanks for the kind words. I like that technopeasant land. Now that's an identity!! We'll get on those grazing lessons. J

bella said...

I've never heard this mid March experience described quite so well, so perfectly.
I struggle through every year, convinced this will be the year I don't make it through. Sanity becomes delicate, fragile, illusive.
Then, somehow, spring does come and I come back alive with it.

funforager said...

Thanks Bella
You gave me the P word that every writer yearns to hear!!! Wow. Coming from someone who writes as well as you that is a treasure.

I appreciate your blog, your way of caring your your sisters who are hurting, and the way you put words on a page.

Claud said...

Good Lord, Jul: you "stayed with the body?" What a story!

Hope you get a chance to write this weekend. Or sooner, toots!

Angela said...

Glad those crazies are gone for another year. Now, get back to work on that great novel of yours.

funforager said...

Thanks Angela & Claud
I think I will take that advice this weekend!

Earl Cox said...

In the early days of the Roman Republic, the ides (which fall only on the 15th for four months out of the year) were days of reconcilliation with the family's ancestors, the deii familiari, which, as old Latin, still shows some of its Eutruscan roots.

It does sound like your snowmobiler picked a very appropriate (if unlucky) day on which to personally reconcile with his ancestors.

I have been remiss in the reading of my favorite web logs (wandering around northern New Mexico, camera in hand, looking for the remains of long ago cavalry forts). But, as usual, you have not diappointed. A very nice tale of the ides, well written and interesting. I am glad to be back ready you terrific blog again!

funforager said...

Earl
Thanks for stopping by. Your comments are a heady froth of encouragement, I can tell you. Helps me remember I am a writer.

Montana spring is a great charade that even trips up the winged folks. Snow falls all day on the mountains, while down in the valley,the grass shines neon green, tulips & daffys rip up through the soil, and forsythia glows an uncanny butter yellow.

Getting pelted daily with gopple or glopple or whatever the weather people are calling sleet these days, I can only say I'm a tad envious of your references to northern Mexico. Sigh.

Truth is we have nothing to complain about in weather, people, or amenities. That's why I love to write about the neighborhood, city, county, the reservation. Inspiring all year round.