Perhaps you remember the old saying about March, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” There is much more to say about this third month of ours, more than the reactions “Third month already?” and “Wasn’t just yesterday New Year’s?”

March has almost everything, from green beer, colored eggs and March Madness to surprise storms and tranquil early spring. March is a transitional month during which the chill of winter battles the bliss of spring.

But we must also remember that the ancient Romans named the month after Mars, the god of war. So, a little fighting is in its DNA.

Sometimes spring in March is a little fickle, first saying, “Ok, I am here,” and then, “Oh no, too soon.” March can bring many good and meaningful things—we just have to open our hearts to them. As Tracy Chevalier once said, “March was an unpredictable month when it was never clear what might happen. Warm days raised hopes until ice and grey skies shut over the town again.”

March is likely a bigger deal for those who once lived on the other side of our great American landscape. Seasons back where I was born were much more clearly defined. Our winters were hard and long, and driving on our roads was dangerous.

As a little girl, I dressed in layer upon layer of bulky clothes. I had mittens pinned to my jacket, a wool scarf around my neck, which my mother stretched across my face, and a wool hat with strings that tied under my chin on my head. Believe me: we folks in Michigan used to daydream about March as if the month were like the sugar plums dancing over our heads at Christmastime.

My husband, Ron, always spoke about a special day he always looked forward to with such affection. Like most children back then, Ron walked a long way to school. His mother must have gone to the same parenting school as mine because I have seen pictures of him wearing the same ensemble.

Ron told me that as soon as the first day of March dawned, he looked carefully down to the drifts and slopes of snow he passed, looking for the SIGN. He would rise with hope each morning, only to go to bed discouraged. “What if it won’t happen this year?” Ron worried.

Then, one day, he gazed down, and there it was: the spring miracle! Bravely, after struggling to grow above the freezing snow, it arose victorious—the first daffodil of spring!

Statistics show March is the most unproductive month of the year in the United States. What villain causes this dire effect? March Madness! Lasting throughout March, it’s a time in which the NBA competition is sacred. Some employers say they lose millions of dollars in lost productivity as employees spend time partaking in many March Madness-related activities, namely arguing and placing bets.

March also brings us the end of daylight savings as we spring forward, and children and parents rejoice. This year, make sure you change your clocks on March 10.

Talk about rejoicing! In March, sleepy animals hibernate, stretch, yawn and venture into the world. Soon, they will be blessed with little ones.

For downers, March 15, the Ides of March, recalls that famous day in Roman history when Julius Caesar said his famous line, “Et tu, Brute?” before his dear friend Brutus stabbed him. I think Caesar also said, “Folks, watch your backs,” although there is no written record of that statement.

This year, March brings the happy sounds of cash registers ringing, first for Irish beers and later for colored eggs, stuffed easter bunnies and a lot of chocolate—yum!

Taverns nationwide and beyond rejoice as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, and we all don green and dig deep to find our Irish. International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, is a subject I plan to discuss later.

The holy week of Easter will also be here soon, culminating with the miraculous sunrise on Easter morning. Let me leave a few jellybeans here as a path to another column.

I’ll close now with one of my favorite March thoughts from Beatriz Williams: “How terrible a time is the beginning of March. In a month there will be daffodils and the sudden blossoming of orchards, but you wouldn’t know it now. You have to take spring on blind faith.”

Diana J. Ingram

Diana Ingram has been a columnist for Los Banos newspapers for four decades.