Monday, March 7, 2011

The Lions of March

I think that old March lion was rattling my windows last night. I could hear his roar and the sound of his claws scratching the side of my house. I was happy to be in my bed beneath a warm blanket with a book in my hand (OK, an iPad with a Kindle App - not quite as warm and cozy, but high-tech comfort). The wind always makes me keenly aware of the protective walls of my house and grateful for the shelter they provide. Any four walls with my family tucked safely within will do, as long as it keeps that lion at bay.

American poet, Ogden Nash, had it right when he said,

"Indoors or out, no one relaxes in March, that month of wind and taxes, the wind will presently disappear, the taxes last us all the year."

The unsettled month of March is indeed upon us, with its threatening ides and such.  I'm always a little unnerved by high winds, worrying that one of the many trees we love will topple over or a branch that has not survived the winter months will break loose and crash into one of our cars or through our roof. It's time to start assessing how the things that had to weather the winter months outside our protective walls made out and help them get back into shape for the fairer months ahead.

I spent part of yesterday washing the cushions of our outdoor furniture, some of which had blown over the side of the yard into the gully. Had I been more disciplined back in the fall, I would have brought those cushions within my protective walls for the winter, but instead, I left them to their own devices and paid the price for it yesterday. They cleaned up pretty well, but the climb down into the gully to retrieve the errant ones was a little hairy.  At least the poison ivy hasn't emerged yet.

As Mr. Nash pointed out, March is also the month when we have to face the reality of taxes that we've been postponing since January 1st.  As with the cushions, every year I say I'm going to do a better job of preparing for this recurring event, and every year, I continue to pay the price for my poor planning and procrastination.  Also like the cushions, I'm forced to expend extra effort cleaning up the hairy mess of our untended finances that have been blown around over the winter.  One year I will get really smart and trade in TurboTax for a tax professional who is always prepared for tax season and will force me to be as well.

In the meantime, I'm off to start gathering dogeared bank statements and charitable donation receipts and to see what else the lion has blown into the gully while I wasn't keeping a proper watch. I can only hope my finances will clean up as well as the cushions. Take a look around and see if there are people or objects around you without the benefit of protective walls who could use your help picking up behind that lion. Bring on the lambs. Baaa!

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